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Cinema of the Czech Republic

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Cinema of the Czech Republic
Kino Světozor - večerní vchod do pasáže.jpg
Kino Světozor in Prague
No. of screens668 (2011)[1]
 • Per capita6.9 per 100,000 (2011)[1]
Main distributorsBontonfilm 34.0%
Falcon 31.0%
Warner Bros. 14.0%[2]
Produced feature films (2011)[3]
Fictional23 (51.1%)
Animated2 (4.4%)
Documentary20 (44.4%)
Number of admissions (2011)[5]
 • Per capita1.06 (2012)[4]
National films3,077,585 (28.5%)
Gross box office (2011)[5]
TotalCZK 1.21 billion
National filmsCZK 301 million (24.9%)

Czech cinema is the name for cinematography of Czech Republic, as well as the Czech cinematography while it was a part of other countries.

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne is considered the most internationally successful Czech film ever made; soon after its release it was distributed to 72 countries and received widespread attention.[6] Domestically, the most viewed Czech film ever is The Proud Princess from 1952, which was seen by 8,222,695 people.[7][8]

Marketa Lazarová was voted the all-time best Czech movie in a prestigious 1998 poll of Czech film critics and publicists.[9][10]


The first Czech film director and cinematographer was Jan Kříženecký, who started filming short documentaries in Prague in the second half of 1898. The first permanent cinema house was founded by Viktor Ponrepo in 1907 in Prague.

Interwar period

Among the most prominent directors were Karel Lamač, Karl Anton, Svatopluk Innemann, Přemysl Pražský, Martin Frič and Gustav Machatý. The first Czechoslovak film fully made with synchronized sound is considered to be Když struny lkají, released in September 1930.[11] Earlier film, Tonka of the Gallows, released in February 1930 was shot as a silent film and the sound was added in France. Barrandov Studios was launched by Miloš Havel in 1933, which started a Czech film industry film boom. It is the largest film studio in the country and one of the largest in Europe.


During WW2, many major pre-war film directors continued to make films, including Otakar Vávra, Martin Frič, Miroslav Cikán, Jan Sviták (who was murdered at the end of the war by an anti-fascist mob), Vladimír Slavínský, František Čáp, Zdeněk Gina Hašler (who emigrated to the USA after the war) and Václav Binovec.

Vladimír Čech started his career during the WW2, as well as Václav Krška. Scenario writer Karel Steklý turned to film directing at the end of the war and maintained both careers until his death.

Well-known actor Rudolf Hrušínský (born 1920) also tried himself as a director during this period.

After World War II

Many prominent people of Czech cinema left the country before World War II including directors Karel Lamač and Gustav Machatý, cinematographer Otto Heller, actors Hugo Haas and Jiří Voskovec and producer Josef Auerbach. Director Vladislav Vančura was murdered by Nazis as were a popular actor and signer Karel Hašler, actress Anna Letenská and writer Karel Poláček. Studio owner Miloš Havel and actresses Lída Baarová and Adina Mandlová went into exile in Germany or Austria after they were accused of collaborating with Nazis during the war. In 1943 Czech Film Archive (NFA) was established in Prague.

In 1945 the Czechoslovak film industry was nationalized. The most viewed Czech film ever, The Proud Princess, was released during this period, in 1952. It was seen by 8,222,695 people. The film also won a prize for a child film at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.[12][13]

Famous movies of the 50s include: Journey to the Beginning of Time, The Good Soldier Švejk, The Emperor and the Golem, The Princess with the Golden Star, The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, Proud Princess (the most viewed Czech film ever) and Once Upon a Time, There Was a King....

New Wave

One of the most famous Czech directors Miloš Forman
One of the most famous Czech directors Miloš Forman

The Czechoslovak New Wave is most frequently associated with the early works of directors such as Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová, Jiří Menzel and others, although works by older, more established Czechoslovak directors such as Karel Kachyňa and Vojtěch Jasný are also placed in this category. Encompassing a broad range of works in the early to mid-1960s, the Czechoslovak New Wave cannot be pinned down to any one style or approach to filmmaking. Examples range from highly stylised, even avant-garde, literary adaptions using historical themes (e.g. Jan Němec's Diamonds of the Night (Démanty noci)) to semi-improvised comedies with contemporary subjects and amateur actors (e.g., Miloš Forman's The Firemen's Ball (Hoří, má panenko)). However, a frequent feature of films from this period were their absurd, black humour and an interest in the concerns of ordinary people, particularly when faced with larger historical or political changes. The acid western comedy film Lemonade Joe was a famous parody of old-time westerns. Cinematic influences included Italian neorealism and the French New Wave, although the Czechoslovak New Wave also builds organically on developments in Czechoslovak cinema in the late 1950s when the influence of Stalinism in the film industry declined.

1970s to 1989

Many of the directors active in the previous periods continued to work in this period, including Otakar Vávra and Jiří Menzel. During the period of normalization, only the movies that Czech authorities considered harmless were made. Therefore the most successful movies from this era are comedies, sci-fi and family movies, like in the previous periods. A fairy-tale film from 1973, Three Nuts for Cinderella has become a holiday classic in Czechoslovakia and several European countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden and Norway.[14]

1990s and beyond

Among the most successful Czech films made after the Velvet Revolution are: Kolya, Divided We Fall, Cosy Dens and Walking Too Fast.[original research?]

Czech films

List of Czechoslovak films 1898–1990
List of Czech films (List of Czech Republic films) 1990–today
List of Czech animated films
List of Czech films considered the best
List of most expensive Czech films
List of highest-grossing Czech films

List of notable Czech directors

Nominations and Awards

Nominations for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film

Contenders at Cannes Film Festival

Contenders at Venice Film Festival

Contenders at Moscow Film Festival

See also

Further reading

  • Passek, Jean-Loup; Zaoralová, Eva, eds. (1996). Le cinéma tchèque et slovaque. Paris: Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou. ISBN 9782858508921. OCLC 415079480.


  1. ^ a b "Table 8: Cinema Infrastructure - Capacity". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Table 6: Share of Top 3 distributors (Excel)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  3. ^ "Table 1: Feature Film Production - Genre/Method of Shooting". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Country Profiles". Europa Cinemas. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Table 11: Exhibition - Admissions & Gross Box Office (GBO)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Archived from the original on 24 December 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Vynález zkázy je nejúspěšnější český film všech dob. V New Yorku ho promítalo 96 kin současně". Aktuálně.cz - Víte, co se právě děje (in Czech). 19 April 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Pyšná princezna (1952)".
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-21.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "TOP 10 CESKO-SLOVENSKEHO HRANEHO FILMU". Mestska kina Uherske Hradiste (in Czech). 1998. Archived from the original on 2 October 1999.
  10. ^ Marketa Lazarová on (in Czech)
  11. ^ "Když struny lkají". Filmový přehled. NFA. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  12. ^ "Pyšná princezna (1952)".
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-21.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Tohle jste o pohádce Tři oříšky pro Popelku určitě nevěděli!". Prima (in Czech).
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Cinema of the Czech Republic
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