CZECH? German? Japanese? Indian?

No, we’re not talking about choices of cuisines to satisfy your palate this weekend. More like what options you have to watch from today until Sunday. Movies that you don’t get to watch every day, maybe not in movie theaters, or via on-demand viewing platforms even.

For Europe, 1989 was a crucial year. Barely a week after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Czechoslovakians staged peaceful demonstrations against the government’s Communist Party which led to a bloodless, peaceful transition to power. What eventually became known as the “Velvet Revolution” helped overthrow the communist regime, and restored democracy to Czechoslovakia after five decades. Czechoslovakia eventually split into two nations in 1993: the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

The UP Film Center “celebrates the revolution that stunned the world with cinema” for the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the Fall of the Berlin Wall with the Iron Curtain Film Festival until this Saturday, Aug. 24. The festival is co-presented by the Czech Embassy Manila, and Goethe-Institut Philippinen in partnership with the UP Film Institute. Admission to the Videotheque is free with limited seating, and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

The schedule of the screenings are as follows:

Identity Card, 2 p.m.; Der Turm (The Tower), Part II, 4 p.m.; Kawasaki’s Rose, 7 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 23.

Kawasaki’s Rose, 2 p.m.; Ucho (Ear), 4 p.m.; and Westen (West), 7 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 24.

Ondrej Trojan’s Identity Card is a Czech comedy film based on a story by Petr Sabach. The film is set in the mid-1970s, when Peter receives his identity card on his 15th birthday; it is also about his fellow students Cinderella, Ales and Mita.

According to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, in Kawasaki’s Rose, “renowned psychiatrist Pavel Josek is singled out to receive a ‘Memory of the Nation’ medal. However… this reputedly morally irreproachable dissident once collaborated with state security agencies, informing on a former friend of his wife, Borek, and ultimately being responsible for the latter’s forced emigration. Josek’s family and close friends try to come to terms with these new facts.”

In Ucho (The Ear), Prague senior communist official Ludvik learns at a political party dinner that several of his colleagues have been relieved of their responsibilities. Once inside his house, he and his wife discover that the house is bugged, he is under surveillance, and he could be axed next. Although completed in 1970, this movie wasn’t seen in the Czech Republic until 1989 (or almost 20 years later), around the time the country held its first democratic elections in 40 years.

A synopsis published on the Facebook page of Cine Adarna for Der Turm, or The Tower, says that it is a “searing look at Communist East Germany in its final decade. (It) reveals the intimate realities of life behind the Berlin Wall. Based on Uwe Tellkamp’s acclaimed novel The Tower: Tales from a Vanished Land, which won the 2008 German Book Prize and was heralded by Die Zeit as ‘one of the most important books of European post-War literature,’ this riveting series introduces viewers to respected senior surgeon Richard Hoffmann, his wife Anne, their teenage son Christian, and their community of privileged intellectuals in suburban Dresden.”

The festival’s Facebook page says of Westen: “It’s summer in the late ’70s — three years after the death of Wassilij, the father of Nelly Senff’s son Alexej. Since Wassilij is dead, Nelly wants to leave, too; away from the (German Democratic Republic or GDR), to leave memories and grief behind and get a fresh start… She pretends to marry a West German so he can take them over the border… However, the Allied secret services demand information on Wassilij, who allegedly was a spy. Nelly has to decide if she would let the trauma of the past destroy the future she had in mind for her and her son.”


After doing the rounds at the Red Carpet of Shangri-La Plaza, Robinsons Tacloban, SM City Legazpi, SM City Iloilo in July; and Abreeza Mall Davao, Cultural Center of the Philippines, SM City in Rosales Pangasinan, the UP Film Institute And Ayala Center Cebu, the 22nd Eiga Sai Japanese Film Festival holds its last leg at the Gateway Mall Cineplex until Sunday, Aug. 25. The film festival is organized by the Japan Foundation Manila (JFM). It is open to the public, and is free of charge. For the full screening schedule and dates for other cities, visit or call 811-6155 to 58.

The festival opened with Bernard Rose’s Samurai Marathon (2019). The closing film is Yukihiko Tsutsumi’s The House Where the Mermaid Sleeps (2018). It is based on Keigo Higashino’s novel of the same title. The film follows a couple who “confronted by a tragedy involving their child which leads them to a difficult choice.”

Scheduled to be screened at Gateway are the following:

Laughing Under the Clouds, 2 p.m.; One Cut of the Dead, 4: 30 p.m. and, 7 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 23.

Lu Over the Wall, 2 p.m.; Kakegurui, 4:30 p.m.; and The Eight-Year Engagement, 7 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 24; and

Mirai, 2 p.m., Yakiniku Dragon, 4:30 p.m.; and The House Where the Mermaid Sleeps, 7 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 25.

For more information, visit

Indian cinema traces its roots to the late 1800s, when the moving pictures of Lumière and Robert Paul were shown in Bombay. Last year, it produced 1,800 feature films, or double that of the production of films in the United States and Canada, combined. Local viewers are in for a treat at the first-ever Indian Film Festival titled Mabuhay Bollywood from today until Sunday, Aug. 25. Organized by Shangri-La Plaza, the Embassy of India in Manila, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the festival celebrates 70 years of India-Philippine friendship. The event opens with Mary Kom, a film about a boxing legend.

The lineup at Shang includes:

Neerja, 3 p.m.; Queen, 5:40 p.m., and Bang Bang, 9 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 23

Kahaani, 11:40 a.m., Mary Kom, 3:10 p.m.; Bahubali: The Beginning, 5:50 p.m. and Pink, 9 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 24

Bangbang, 12:30 p.m.; Bahubali: The Conclusion, 3:40 p.m.; Tanu Weds Manu, 7 p.m.; Bhag Milhka Bhag, 9 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 25.

Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis. For the schedule of screenings visit the Shangri-La Plaza Facebook page, call 370-2500 loc. 597, or check out: Agbayani