Omar la fraise Stills Credit: DEF

Days of European Film Returns In April With New Films From Star Directors As Well As Fresh Debuts

From 4-9 April, the Days of European Film (DEF) festival will return for its 31st edition, with a selection of current feature films, documentaries and animated films by European filmmakers. The program will offer over three dozen works by renowned directors, as well as debuts that have won awards at festivals in Cannes and Venice as well as national film awards. The festival will take place simultaneously in Brno, Prague, and Ostrava, with the Brno section being hosted at Kino Art.

Regardless of the genre, this year’s films reflect current topics. “Intergenerational relationships resonate in this year’s selection,” explained the festival’s dramaturg Šimon Šafránek. “Their unravelling and search for reconciliation offer a comedic and dramatic finale. Furthermore, we strongly perceive the blurring of the gender gap in contemporary European cinema. The program consisted of 14 female directors and 15 male directors, quite naturally. There are seven films in the debut competition, five of which were shot by women.”

This year’s festival will include the appearances of several special guests, including director Jessica Hausner, who will be honoured in the festival with a retrospective and a director’s masterclass. “DEF’s ambition is to change the view of the cinema as a place where only projections are consumed,” said DEF director Barbora Golatová. “For the duration of the festival, we want to turn cinemas into innovative cultural centres that are both a meeting place for communities and a source of new types of cultural experiences. With the program, we try to reach all generations of viewers and offer screenings with an accompanying program for families with children, school children, teenagers, adults and seniors.” 

Vincent Must Die stills

From 10-14 April, as part of the ‘Echoes’ festival, selected films from the program will be screened in a dozen cinemas in other cities throughout the Czech Republic. The complete program will be published on 4 March at

The Panorama section will offer the latest films by leading European directors, including Wim Wenders’ new documentary Anselm, a captivating portrait of Anselm Kiefer, one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and Blaga’s Lesson by Bulgarian director Stefan Komandarev, the winning film of last year’s Karlovy Vary IFF, about an elderly woman who finds herself trapped by swindlers.

The DEF main competition will once again focus on debuts, in the section known as ‘First Time’. This will include the black comedy/thriller Vincent Must Die by the French director Stéphane Castang, an imaginative paranoid satire of the post-covid world. With two prizes from Venice (the Orizzonti Award for best director and best screenplay under 40), Swedish director Mika Gustafson’s Paradise is Burning, in which three sisters try to outwit a socialite, will also appear, alongside the charming romantic gangster comedy The King of Algiers, by French producer, screenwriter and debut director Elias Belkeddar.

Omar La Fraise Stills

The accompanying program will include discussions, screenings for seniors and schools, seminars for film professionals, and workshops for children, as well as four programs by Aleš Stuchlé Mental Hygiene. The author of the graphic concept of the 31st edition of the festival is Marija Petrinjac.

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