A Season of Classic Films: Discover Czech silent films

Note that after each premiere, the films will remain available until the end of September.

Twenty-two institutions from all over Europe, including the Národní filmový archiv, Prague, are taking part in the initiative of the Association des Cinémathèques Européennes A Season of Classic Films. From April to September, the Národní filmový archiv, Prague will offer free online access to seven silent films with contemporary music. The selection includes some of the first movies shot in the Czech lands, Karel Lamač’s films and performances by Vlasta Burian and Anna Ondráková. Some screenings will be followed by live discussion on topics related to silent film and its presentation.

The first screening of the series on Thursday 8 April will be Karel Lamač’s Bílý ráj (White Paradise) with music by multi-instrumentalist Tomáš Vtípil. The premiere screening of White Paradise is followed by the discussion ‘Classics Today’, which provides a framework for the entire Czech retrospective. What the term ‘classic’ means in architecture, music, literature and why using this term, are some of the questions discussed by guests from various cultural fields and moderated by the General Director of the Národní filmový archiv, Prague, Michal Bregant.

Films with new musical accompaniments will be added to the online series on a bi-weekly basis. The full programme and access links are provided below.

A Season of Classic Films is an initiative of the Association of European Cinematheques (ACE) and is financially supported by the EU Creative Europe programme. The initiative offers free access to restored European films, connecting the public with cinema history and the preservation of film heritage.


Note that after each premiere, the films will remain available until the end of September 2021.

8 April
17:00 Bílý ráj / White Paradise (Karel Lamač, 1924). Music: Tomáš Vtípil.
19:30 Discussion: Classics Today
Moderated by Michal Bregant (Národní filmový archiv, Prague). Panelists: Paulina Reizi (Eye Filmmuseum, ACE), Gérald Duchaussoy (Festival de Cannes, MIFC Lumière Festival), Irena Lehkoživová (ViPer Gallery), Barbora Kundračíková (Museum of Modern Art, Olomouc), Tomáš Glanc (Zurich University), Jiří Tourek (Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University).

6 May 17:00 Buď připraven! / Be prepared! (Svatopluk Innemann, 1923). Music: Wabi Experience.
Be Prepared! portrays the early Czech boy scout movement taking the audience to astonishing locations, such as Orlík castle and St John’s Rapids, the latter of which no longer exists. The new tinted and toned copy was reconstructed by the Národní filmový archiv, Prague.

20 May
17:00 Hříchy lásky / The Sins of Love (Karel Lamač, 1929). Music: Ožvold & Ožvold & Kratochvíl.
19:30 Discussion: Music for film. Panelists: sound artist Sara Pinheiro, composer and producer Tomáš Vtípil, composer and producer Jan Burian and composer and sound artist Martin Ožvold.

3 June
17:00 Films of Jana Kříženecký (1898-1911). Music: Jan Burian. With commentary by Jeanne Pommeau about the film restoration and the historical context of these early films.
19:30 Discussion: Presenting Early Cinema [mod. Matěj Strnad]

10 June 17:00 Milenky starého kriminálníka / The Lovers of an Old Criminal (Svatopluk Innemann, 1927). Music: Jan Burian.
A slapstick comedy with two men who swap their identities to escape their respective marriages.

17 June 17:00 Cikáni / Gipsies (Karel Anton, 1921). Music: Trio Neuvěřitelno.
A film adaptation of the eponymous novel by Karel Hynek Mácha – author of the celebrated epic poem May – about a Venetian gondolier whose beloved is enticed away by a wealthy foreigner.

24 June
17:00 Ukřižovaná / The Crucified (Boris Orlický, 1921). Music: Ondřej Dizzcock (Ondřej Bělíček).
An adaptation of Jakub Arbes’ novel that deals with the socio-political climate of the mid19th century, antisemitism, war and love. The story takes place during the 1866 riots in Poland during which peasants crucified a Jewish woman.