Dendy Cinemas are once again hosting the Sydney Czech and Slovak Film Festival.

The festival begins on March 27 with the opening night film Jan Palach at Dendy’s Opera Quays. The evening will commence with a cocktail on arrival and the opening night party after the film. The rest of the festival will then take place at Dendy’s Newtown venue
This year’s festival features an impressive line up of films from Slovak and Czech Republic cinema. Highlights include, Jan Palach, the 2018 Czech Film Critics Winner, a reenactment of the last months in the life of a history student who ultimately became a part of history himself.

David Ondříček’s DUKLA 61, one of the most remarkable Czech TV productions of recent times examines the largest Czech mining disaster of the Communist era through the eyes of a man working at the mine along with his son.

In contrast to these big, epic presentations, there are a number of little gems, including BEAR WITH US and FREEDOM.

A sort of Czech Chekov, BEAR WITH US, is a charmer, a chimera Cherry Orchard, of family reunion and fallout, and a touch of the absurd.

A middle aged couple have decided to sell the country retreat that has been in the family forever.

Before the sale, they are insistent their son and daughter and her parents to spend one last weekend at the property.

No one seems happy at the prospect – son has recently split with his girlfriend who, nevertheless, urges him to do the familial and tags along.

Daughter is having her own relationship crisis with her German spouse, and Grandma is grumpy and Grandpa is gaga.

Comic conflict commences during the car trip to the country and continues at the destination where good times and bad memories intermingle.

BEAR WITH US recently won the Czech Film Critic’s Award for Best Screenplay and deservedly so.

FREEDOM takes its cue from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. At the beginning of the film, Nora is sitting in an art gallery having walked out on her husband and two children without a word of explanation. She roams through a museum in Vienna, has casual sex with a young man. A mutual appreciation of their private parts is shattered when the boy is caught by Nora rummaging through her purse.

Nora hitchhikes randomly on to Bratislava. She hides her identity by telling little lies. Once a woman of means leading a comfortable bourgeois life, Nora now changes her look, works as a maid and makes friends with a young Slovakian stripper and public sex exhibitionist, Etela, and her husband Tamás, a cook.

Back in Berlin, Nora’s husband Philip is trying to manage the family, his job as a lawyer and his affair with Monika. Could this affair be the catalyst for Nora’s flight from domesticity?

Director Jan Speckenbach and his co-writer Andreas Deinert keep the motives close and shadowy, until a coda at the end of the film hint at the beginnings of her journey.

Also screening is Miloš Forman’s Oscar nominated masterpiece The Firemen’s Ball from 1967 and the closing night international premiere of Rudolf Havlík’s excellent comedy What Men Long For.