Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 2
17 January 2000

Coming Up in the US E V E N T S:
Coming Up in the US

Karen M Laun

Film Festivals in Sundance, Utah, and New York as well as upcoming Czech, Slovak, Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic events in this week's round up of things cultural in the US.

In this week's Coming Up section we have:

Click on the appropiate heading or just scroll down to browse.

The 2000 Sundance Film Festival

The 2000 Sundance Film Festival
20 to 30 January 2000
Sundance, Utah
Phone: (801) 322-4033 E-Mail: FestivalInfo@Sundance.org

The Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the support and development of independent filmmakers, screenwriters, playwrights, composers and other film and theater artists.

Founded in 1981 by actor Robert Redford, the Sundance Institute adopted sponsorship of the United States Film Festival in 1984, creating an internationally recognized showcase for new independent cinema. Now, the annual film festival, held in Sundance, Utah, is the most well-known event and has an annual attendance of over 20,000 people. While many of the films are by American filmmakers, the World Cinema category provides an opportunity for filmmakers from around the world to contribute their work.

The festival does not feature Central European films this year, but film-goers may want to check out Luna Papa, directed by Bakhtiar Khudojnazarov. This joint Austrian, German, Russian, Swiss and French production relates the story of the beautiful young Mamlakat, who dreams of Shakespeare, an acting career, and escape from her obscure and dusty village of Far-Khar, lost somewhere between Samarkand and the desolate shores of the Caspian Sea. This tragic and humorous adventure takes place in a wild land where Soviet authority has been replaced by lawlessness.

...And More about the Sundance Film Festival

For more information on the Sundance festival check out their website.

For registration and box office information call (801) 322-4033 weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm MST or send an e-mail.

Individual tickets may be purchased daily beginning Tuesday, January 11 at 8 am MST by calling the Main Box Office at (801) 521-2525.

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Ninth New York Jewish Film Festival

The Ninth Annual New York Jewish Film Festival
16 -27 January, 2000
Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street
Plaza Level at Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 875-5600

The Jewish Museum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center are sponsoring the Ninth Annual New York Jewish Film Festival this January. Some of the films among this interesting collection feature Central European themes or are directed by Central European directors.

These include After the End of the World, a romantic tale of an Isreali scholar returning to his native Bulgaria, directed by Ivan Nichev and presented in Bulgarian,Greek, Romani and Turkish with English subtitles. Rolf Schübel's film, Gloomy Sunday, takes place in 1930s Budapest, while The Danube Exodus, by Peter Forgács (a found-footage pioneer), uses newsreel images and narration from private diaries to tell the extraordinary tale of a captain of a Danube cruise ship between 1938 and 1945. The captain films as his elegant pleasure ship is transformed into a refugee liner that carries desperate Central European Jews to Palestine and later, Bessarabian Germans expelled by the Russians [Click here for a full review of The Danube Exodus].

Last, but not least, Almonds and Wine, a world premiere by Arnie Lipsey of Canada, is a cheerful animated tale based on a Yiddish folk song that tells the story of a young bride and groom journeying from Eastern Europe to North America.

For box office information and schedules for the films featured this year check out the Lincoln Center website.

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Czech and Slovak Events


Jiří Menzel Film Retrospective
September 1999 to February 2000
Portland and Toronto
Phone: (505) 473-6494

The Czech Center New York has been presenting a traveling retrospective of Czech New Wave director Jiří Menzel's greatest films to audiences across the country since September 1999. So far, the Jiří Menzel Film Retrospective has made stops in Montreal, Cleveland, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Fe. Featuring Menzel's best films over the last thirty years, the retrospective gives film lovers a rare glimpse of the body of work of one of Europe's foremost filmmakers. In January and February, film-goers can catch such films as the famous Closely Watched Trains, My Sweet Little Village and Larks on a String, which was banned by the Communist authorities for 21 years.

For locations of participating theaters and film schedules see below:

Northwest Film Center
The Guild Theater, SW Park & Taylor, Portland, OR
Call (503) 221-1156, or visit http://www.nwfilm.org.


Tuesday, 18 January, 7 pm
Capricious Summer

Saturday, 22 January, 7 pm
Closely Watched Trains

Tuesday, 25 January, 7 pm
Larks on a String

Thursday, 27 January, 7 pm
Cutting It Short

Friday, 28 January, 7 pm
My Sweet Little Village

Saturday, 29 January, 5 pm
Festival of the Snowdrops

Sunday, 30 January
1 pm - My Sweet Little Village
3 pm - The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

Cinematheque Ontario
Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario,
317 Dundas St West, Toronto
Advance ticket sales for members only at (416) 968-FILM
Admission: members USD 4.80, non-members USD 8


Friday, 18 February
Capricious Summer

Saturday, 19 February
Closely Watched Trains

Tuesday, 22 February
Larks on a String

Wednesday, 23 February
Cutting It Short

Thursday, 24 February
Festival of the Snowdrops

Friday, 25 February
My Sweet Little Village

Saturday, 26 February
The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

For more information on Jiří Menzel and the film retrospective, visit the Czech Center's website.

Bohumil Hrabal Evening
25 January, 7:30 pm
Czech Embassy
Phone: (202) 274-9100, x3413 (free, call for reservations)

In conjunction with the Jiří Menzel Film Retrospective, the Czech Embassy is sponsoring several special events about the director's favorite author, Bohumil Hrabal. Among the most important and popular Czech writers of the 20th century, Bohumil Hrabal has had nearly three million copies of his works printed in his native land and has also been translated into 27 foreign languages. More of Hrabal's novels and stories have been adapted for the screen than any other Czech authors, perhaps the most internationally renowned of them being Jiří Menzel's version of Closely Watched Trains, which received the 1967 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

This evening, which celebrates the 85th anniversary of Hrabal's birth, features readings from the author's most well-known texts by members of Scena Theatre, as well as the opening of an exhibit devoted to his life and work. The evening is organized in collaboration with Politics and Prose Bookstore, which will offer Hrabal's books in English translation at the event.

Bohumil Hrabal Exhibit
25 January to 17 February
Czech Embassy
3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 274-9100

Following the special evening of readings from Bohumil Hrabal's work, a new exhibit "Too Loud a Solitude" will be on display at the Czech Embassy. This exhibit examines the life and work of this unusual Czech writer, from his birth on 28 March, 1914, through his sudden death on 3 February 1997. Open weekdays: 9 am to 5 pm.

Video Thursdays at the Czech Center
27 January, 6 and 8 pm
Czech Center New York
1109 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Phone:(212) 288-0830

If you're in New York you might want to visit the Czech Center for their Video Thursdays. On 27 January, the featured film is Saša Gedeon's Return of the Idiot. Inspired by Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot, this is the second feature from this up-and-coming young director and was the official Czech selection for the 1999 American Academy Awards.

Visit the website of the Czech Center for more information on their Video Thursdays and other events. Or e-mail them.

...And More Czech and Slovak Culture in the US

For more information on Czech and Slovak events in the US, look here and click on "Czech-Slovak." Also, check out the calendar of events at the Czech Embassy.

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Polish Events


Arthur Szyk Exhibit of World War II Era Prints and Drawing
9 December 1999 to 6 May 2000
The Library of Congress
Swann Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building
101 Independence Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20540
Phone: (202) 707-8696

The Library of Congress is celebrating the recent acquisition of several important original works by Polish American artist and illustrator Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) with an exhibition in the Swann Gallery entitled "Arthur Szyk: Artist for Freedom." Szyk, who was born in Lodz, Poland, achieved international prominence during World War II when he produced hundreds of anti-Axis illustrations and cartoons in support of the Allied war effort. Three of his most important original works of graphic Americana - The Declaration of Independence, Four Freedoms Prayer and Bill of Rights - are featured in the exhibition. The exhibit is open free of charge from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday.

More information on this exhibition is available through the Library of Congress website, by e-mailing: swann@loc.gov, or by calling Sara Duke, Curatorial Project Assistant, at (202) 707-9115 or Curator Harry Katz at (202) 707-8696.

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Ukrainian Events

Lviv Musical Ensemble "Collage"

New info here...

For details on this and other Ukrainian events, check out the calendar of events provided by Brama.

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Russian Events


New Library of Congress Website:
"Meeting of Frontiers"

This new website from the Library of Congress chronicles the parallel experiences of the United States and Russia in exploring, developing and settling their frontiers and the meeting of those frontiers in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The site is completely bilingual, in English and Russian, and is intended for use in US and Russian schools and libraries and by the general public in both countries.

"Meeting of Frontiers" includes more than 2500 items, including a wealth of often previously unpublished primary material, that tell the stories of the explorers, fur traders, missionaries, exiles, gold miners and adventurers who peopled both frontiers and their interactions with the native peoples of Siberia and the American West. Collections available in "Meeting of Frontiers" include the Frank G Carpenter Collection of photographs from Alaska in the 1910s; the John C Grabill Collection of photographs of 1880s frontier life in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming; the Yudin Collection of papers from the Russian-American Company (1786-1830); and selections from the Alaska Russian Church Archives.

This is the Library's first major digital project involving international material and extensive cooperation with foreign institutions. In coming years, the project will be expanded to include more materials from the Library's own collections, from the Elmer E Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and from other US institutions. It will also feature materials from partner institutions in Russia, including the Russian State Library in Moscow, the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg and the Institute of History of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk.

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If you would like to list your upcoming Central or East European cultural event here, please e-mail us at uscomingup@hotmail.com

Compiled by Karen M Laun




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