Whanganui Film Society will this week screen a Czech masterpiece that is little known outside its home country.

Director Frantisek Vlacil's film Marketa Lazarova will screen on August 1 at 7pm. Entry is for members only.

Marketa Lazarova was voted the best Czech film of all time in a national critics poll. However, the NZ Film Societies - including Whanganui - are screening this film for the first time in New Zealand since it was first released in 1967.

Whanganui Film Society is now in the second half of its 2016 season, and half-year memberships are available for $45.

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Film society president Helen Marie O'Connell said this year's second half is particularly strong with many favourites from recent NZ International Film Festivals that have never screened in Whanganui, and a number of other films that have never screened in New Zealand. The fifteen remaining titles of the season include a diverse mix of dramas, documentaries, and restored classics.

Classics on offer include the visually spectacular, restored film of Offenbach's opera The Tales of Hoffmann from British duo Powell & Pressburger, and the1971 Julie Christie costume drama The Go-Between.

Other titles screening for the first time on NZ screens are Geronimo - a contemporary Romeo & Juliet tale from Tony Gatlif, the French-Romani-Algerian director of Latcho Drom and Gadjo Dilo; steamy French-Austrian co-production Grand Central; and 9x10 Novanta - a compendium of nine short films by rising Italian filmmakers made from historic footage from the Luce Archives.

Three documentaries cover vastly different topics, from Easy Riders, Raging Bulls - an in depth survey of the rule-breaking cinema of the 1970s "New Hollywood" directors; to festival returnees The Chinese Mayor, which shows a close-up and personal battle between history and development in contemporary China, and The Spirit of '45, Ken Loach's uplifting insight into post-war socialist England.

More favourites from recent NZ International Film Festivals, never before screened in Whanganui, include the unconventional love story Weekend, Abderrahmane Sissako's multiple award-winning Timbuktu, and the fabulously stylish Spanish revisioning of Snow White set in 1920s Seville - Blancanieves.

+For more information, including membership, film schedule and reviews.