Pioner Cinema » Jiri Menzel Retrospective

Pioner Cinema, the Czech Centre, and Czech House present a retrospective of the world-famous Czech director, Jiri Menzel. The event will take place at Pioner from 19 September through 5 October, and from 19 through 21 September the director himself will be in Moscow to conduct a series of audience talkbacks.

The official opening of the retrospective will take place on 19 September. At Pioner, Jiri Menzel will personally present his film “Closely Watched Trains” (1966) – one of only three films in the history of Czech film to win an Oscar, and perhaps the most famous among them.

On 20 September, Jiri Menzel will present his new book, “Well, I Don’t Know” to Pioner’s guests – the first Russian-language collection of the director’s original essays, written from 1995 to 1998. The book will be printed by the “Notes on Film Studies” publishing house, as part of a new series entitled “The ‘Notes on Film Studies’ Library.” After the presentation, there will be a screening of three of Menzel’s student films (two of which will be shown in Russia for the first time) and a discussion with the audience.

On 21 September, Pioner’s audiences will have one more chance to speak with the director – after the screening of “Capricious Summer” (1967), one of the films which brought the director worldwide fame.

The following screenings in the retrospective will take place on 27 and 28 September as well as 4 and 5 October.

The Jiri Menzel retrospective in Moscow is one of the most representative overviews to date of this famous director’s work in Russia. It continues a series of annual events put on by the Czech Centre to promote the work of leading Czech filmmakers to Russian audiences. As part of this programme, the Centre has already organized retrospectives of Vera Chytilova, Frantisek Vlacil, and Karyl Kachyna.

Jiri Menzel is a world-famous Czech director of theatre and film, one of the leading figures in the Czechoslovakin New Wave, and a graduate of Otakar Vara’s legendary course, where he studied together with Vera Chytilova, Evald Schorm, and Jan Schmidt. The director’s deep love for “silent humor” and reimagining classical comic gags allowed his humor to cross language barriers. Moreover, his longtime collaboration with the outstanding Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, who worked on the majority of his films, enriched Menzel’s work with an unmistakable national color. Along with their ironic grotesqueness, Menzel’s films possess a subtle lyricism, a poetic look on the everyday, and a special tenderness toward his heroes’ emotional development.

Schedule and tickets:

19 September, 19:30
Opening. Jiri Menzel presents “Closely-Watched Trains” (Ostře sledované vlaky), 1966, 92 min.

20 September, 19:30
Presentation of Jiri Menzel’s book, “Well, I don’t know” and screening of three of the director’s student films:
“Prefabricated Houses” (Domy z panelů), 1959, 6 min.
“FAMU Magazine: First Issue” (Žurnál FAMU: První občasník), 1961, 10 min.
“Our Mr. Foerster Died” (Umřel nám pan Foerster), 1963, 14 min.

After the screening: Q&A with Jiri Menzel.

21 September, 19:30
“Capricious Summer” (Rozmarné léto), 1967, 74 min.
After the screening: Q&A with Jiri Menzel.

27 September, 19:30
“Larks on a String” (Skrivánci na niti), 1969, 90 min.

28 September, 19:30
“Seclusion Near a Forest” (Na samote u lesa), 1976, 95 min.

4 October, 19:30
“The Snowdrop Festival” (Slavnosti snezenek), 1983, 83 min.

5 October, 19:30
“My Sweet Little Village” (Vesnicko má stredisková), 1985, 98 min.