54 in a new garb
The Prague part of the festival will open on 5th November with the Czech premiere of 54: The Director's Cut. It is the director's version of drama 54, starring Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, and Mike Myers. The film's new version about the rise and fall of the iconic New York club, Studio 54, is bolder and more interesting for the viewers than the original from 1998.
“After its premiere at this year's Berlinale, the film was rightfully labelled as a newly-found queer classic. It is a unique case of creators succeeding in saving their own film after it was destroyed by the studio. They used tens of minutes of material yet unseen in this process, and the original, bland version turned into a fascinating, decadent portrait of Studio 54. Just as it deserves,” says Lucia Kajankova.
Films from all around the world
Life's jolts are experienced by real personalities both in the selected documentaries and in live-action films. Peter Greenaway's Eisenstein in Guanajuato, for example, depicts the Mexican journey of the Soviet director, Sergei Eisenstein. The visually bewitching allegory of sex and death was welcomed with enthusiasm of viewers as well as critics at this year's Berlinale. Mezipatra will screen the film in its pre-premiere, and Czech Film Club Association (AČFK) will distribute it in Czech cinemas afterwards.
Those not interested in Mexico may choose from award-winning films which take the viewers to exotic countries. Drama El Club, the winner of the Silver Bear at this year's Berlinale, will transport us to the shores of Chile where the quiet life of Catholic priests is disturbed by an uninvited guest; Where There Is Shade (De l'ombre il y a), which was presented in Cannes, follows a French trans* prostitute in Cambodia; and Thailand's nominee for the Oscar competition, How to Win at Checkers (Every Time), offers a witty yet touching view of contemporary Thai society.
“Star-cast independent American cinema of today is represented by Grandma with Lily Tomlin, Match with Patrick Stewart, and Boulevard with Robin Williams,” lists Kajankova. It is Boulevard, with the recently deceased Robin Williams in his last leading role, that is one of the highlights of this year's program. “Maybe it's never too late to start living the life you really want,” says the motto of the drama about a married man in his fifties whose life turns upside down after meeting a young male prostitute.
Grandma also brings generations together: the main protagonist, Elle, breaks up with her girlfriend and sets off on an expedition to get the $600 her granddaughter needs for an abortion. On their journey, the two protagonists meet people who played important roles in Elle's life. The independent “dramedy” with a classical plot enchanted audiences at this year's Sundance festival.
The viewers may also look forward to a retrospective section – this year, it includes four films which shook queer cinema, one for each decade from the 1960s to 1990s. The festival will present The Children's Hour (1961) with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, the iconic The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), the exactly thirty years old Kiss of the Spider Woman with the Oscar-winning William Hurt, and Antonia, a Dutch family saga from 1995.
The complete program is availablehere.
This year's visual identity and photos available at https://mezimedia.capsa.cz
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