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- 30.9.2013 16:48 -

Films by Czech Film Pioneers for the First Time Online

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On the occasion of its year’s 70th anniversary, the National Film Archive has prepared several new projects, looking to attract not only film audience, but also wide public. For the first time in history and in cooperation with the international documentary platform Doc Alliance Films, the archive films will find their way to the Internet.

The Director of the NFA Michal Bregant explains: “Doc Alliance’s offer to collaborate in this project came just at the time when the Czech film-archiving profession commemorates its 70th anniversary. To celebrate it properly, we decided to present documentary film fans with the most precious gems from the early days of our cinematography.”

In the course of its long existence, the NFA only now offers Czech and foreign audience the unique opportunity to see a part of the collection outside the walls of cinema theatres. For first two weeks in October, a series of archive films, which are among the most valuable treasures of the collection fund, are available for free through the open format of Video on Demand at www.dafilms.com. Never before have the classical archives opened to modern media of the new millennium, offering an insight into the early days of the history of Czech film.

A curated selection of ten silent documentaries, chosen by film experts, provides a glimpse into the political and everyday life of the society in the first half of the 20th century. A unique footage shot on October 28, 1918, captures Czechoslovakia’s very first founding moments. It shows the frenzy among the capital’s citizens flowing to Wenceslas Square and the rare installation of the new state flag on the statue of St. Wenceslas. The life in pre-war Prague is depicted in the film Old Prague from 1914. The audience can again feel the charm of a long-gone Prague, with trams on the Old-Town Square or horse carriages crossing the Charles Bridge as its natural part. The atmosphere of the young republic is captured in the short films Černošice and St. John’s Rapids made during trips to the capital’s surroundings and showing the specifics of life on the banks of the Vltava River. Film experts will be thrilled to see two unique documents made by the pioneers of Czech cinematography. Viewers will have the opportunity to watch a few preserved filmmaking attempts by the Czech classic Jan Kříženecký, as well as a scientific film produced by the first Czech film production company Kinofa. The documentary Fatal Flight of an Aeroplane under the Prague Bridge that captures a rare acrobatic feat by the Italian pilot Tennente Haase through the lens of the film camera, unexpectedly turns into the first recorded airplane tragedy, bordering on the sensational. Another visual surprise comes in the form of the oldest documented scientific experiment with the eloquent title The Life of a Killed Frog. The curated selection is completed with the sports documentary of a soccer tournament with the comedian Vlasta Burian as one of the players, and an excerpt from the Prague Cinematograph from 1914.

Watch a unique series of documentaries by Czech filmmaking pioneers from September 30 to October 31 for free.

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