Jirí Krejcík – Vyssi princip AKA Higher Principle (1960)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

SYNOPSIS from kviff.com:

Jiří Krejčík’s A Higher Principle, together with Weiss’s film Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (1959), was one of those Czechoslovak films at the forefront of what is characterised in literature as the second wave of war prose. After years of the schematism and trivialisation of heroic pathos, films were gradually appearing towards the end of the 1950s which treated the theme of war with greater intimacy, and the heroism of those who resisted evil and Nazi barbarity was not so apparent at first glance. Krejčík selected a story by Jan Drda written almost immediately after the liberation, whose short text he and the author considerably reshaped. Continue reading

Irena Pavlásková – Fotograf (2015)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
This acerbic biographical comedy subtitled “I Think You Should Calm Down, Ladies…!” is loosely inspired by the life of renowned photographer and celebrity Jan Saudek, outstandingly portrayed by Karel Roden. The film, appealing in its theme and treatment, focuses on the maestro’s relationships with women, specifically the devoted Líba, who enjoys subtle yet complete control over Jan (her character is undeniably inspired by his former partner Sára Saudková). In addition to numerous indelicate scenes, the brief flashbacks also reveal Jan’s ill-fated past (conflicts with the police and state security agents, a nightmare from his childhood), and there’s also room for staging Saudek’s famous photographic nudes, for which the models were usually morbidly obese. Pavlásková also exposes the artist’s quirky personality, where exhibitionism and vanity go hand in hand with Saudek’s fragility and male naivety, and his desire to extricate himself from his private solitude. Continue reading

Tomas Hodan – Filmovy dobrodruh Karel Zeman AKA Film Adventurer Karel Zeman (2015)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

A biographical film looking back at the life, work and significance of the genius of world cinema. It reveals the inspiration sources of his work and looks into the kitchen of the film tricks pioneer. As an absolute solitaire in his field, he created his own world based purely on his imagination. He was a complete autodidact and is therefore not easily classifiable into any film wave or direction. This extremely hardworking, resourceful man and a perfectionist, yet always preserving the ability to see the world from a child’s perspective is without any doubt one of the most successful and celebrated Czech filmmakers in the world. Thanks to their inner poetry and sincerity, his films do not age. Continue reading

Vera Chytilová – Strop AKA Ceiling (1962)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Vera Chytilova’s fascinating 1962 film-school thesis is a protofeminist meditation on the fashion industry that draws on Chytilova’s experience as a model. The storytelling is a bit clumsy, arbitrarily juxtaposing scenes of the protagonist posing at a photo shoot and awkwardly interacting with some young men in a cafe. But many of the images ring emotionally true, even those that have since become cliches—like the sequence in which she wanders the street at night staring at shop window mannequins. The film’s best scene—of the model standing on the runway while the audience whirls vertiginously about—evokes the vacuous instability of a self that exists only in the gaze of others. Continue reading

Ján Kadár & Elmar Klos – Obchod na korze AKA The Shop on Main Street (1965)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
In 1942, in a small town in Czechoslovakia, the poor carpenter Tony Brtko is assigned “Aryanizator” of a small shop on the main street by his fascist brother-in-law Mark Kolkotsky. His greedy wife Evelyn is seduced with the promise of fortune, but Tony finds that the store owned by the deaf and senile seventy year-old widow Rozalie Lautmann is bankrupted and the old lady is financially supported by the Jewish community that promises a salary to him to help her. Tony befriends Ms, Lautmann and helps her in the store and repairs her furniture, and lures his wife with his salary. When the Jews are expelled from the town by the fascist, Tony decides to help the old lady. Continue reading

Eduard Grecner – Drak sa vracia AKA The Return of Dragon [+ Extra] (1968)

 photo xEadBiG.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:

A ballad of love, hatred, and desire to escape from loneliness. The story of a reclusive potter, who returns, years after being shunned by his village.

The story is a simple one, set in medieval times, in a small village near the Tatra mountain range bordering Slovakia and Poland. Where a potter named Martin Lepiš (Czech actor Radovan Lukavský, perfectly cast here in the role of an outsider), whom the villagers refer to as Dragon, returns, several years after he was wrongfully driven away for crimes he did not commit. He comes back not for revenge or any motive other than to simply live his old life in peace. However his former fiancée Eva (Emília Vášáryová, wonderfully expressive in an almost silent role), is now married, and her new husband Simon (Gustav Valach) and the other villagers, are suspicious of Dragon’s intentions. Is there anything he can do to gain acceptance and respect, or is it a hopeless cause? Continue reading