Czech Republic

Zdenek Podskalský – Bílá paní AKA The White Lady (1965)

Synopsis:
This castle has its own ghost – a mysterious White lady. She emerges from the painting on the wall when someone speaks out magic formula. White lady is a good ghost, she can make someone’s wishes true. Even if it is a new duct. But a miracle is not the thing that Communist leaders want in the town. Read More »

Jan Nemec – Oratorio for Prague [+Extra] (1968)

One of the most powerful documentaries ever made, Oratorio for Prague contains the only footage from the Soviet-led invasion of Prague in 1968. Czech New Wave filmmaker Jan Nĕmec (A Report on the Party and the Guests) began filming with the intention to document Prague Spring, a celebration of the newfound liberalization of Czechoslovakia, but the film’s subject took a dramatic turn when Soviet tanks rolled through the streets. The invasion ended Prague Spring, leaving Nĕmec blacklisted and Oratorio for Prague banned. Read More »

Martin Fric – Capkovy povidky AKA Capek’s Tales (1947)

Martin Fric composed several Karel Capek’s Tales in the form of story telling of train passengers. They include three tales from the book “Tales from One Pocket”: “Propuštěný” (Released), “Poslední soud” (The Last Judgment) and “Ukradený spis” (The Stolen Document); and two tales from the book “Tales from the Other Pocket”: “Balada o Juraji Čupovi” (Ballad about Juraj Cup) a “Případ s dítětem” (The Case of Baby). Read More »

Vera Chytilova – Hra o jablko aka The Apple Game (1976)

Since he works many hours in the maternity ward of a Czech hospital, the comic couplings of a young doctor take place in whatever out-of-the way spots he can find. Sometimes he has a few free hours, and he takes his women to a secluded spot. Some of these spots have become legends: once he took his girl to a junkyard, and their lovemaking became the object of attention of a horde of workers poised on cranes in any spot they could find. His two primary loves are the wife of the head of the clinic and one of the nurses there. When he discovers that he is falling in love with the nurse, he proposes marriage, but she is much too independent to put up with the likes of him for long – even if she is pregnant with his child. Read More »

Jan Nemec – O slavnosti a hostech AKA The Party and the Guests (1966)

Distinguished as being ‘banned forever’ in its native Czechoslovakia, Nemec’s film is a masterpiece of barbed, darkly sinister wit. As a biting satire of governmental and institutional power and with its astute observations of human nature and conformity, it is a film whose relevance continues to this day.
Considered the most politically dangerous film made during the short flowering of the Czech New Wave in the 1960s, this is its first-ever release on DVD. Read More »

Jan Spata – Respice finem (1967)

Almost half-a-million widows older than 65 years lived in Czechoslovakia in late ’60. Many of them spend the last years of their lives in the countryside. Their men died, children moved on, and they are left alone with their work and daily troubles, solitary with their fate, their beliefs, with memories of momentary happiness and past injustices, with wisdom and humility of age, as well as nature’s simplicity which surrounds them all the time. Read More »

Juraj Jakubisko – Kristove roky AKA The Crucial Years (1967)

Quote:
Jakubiskos debut, by many considered his best movie. The title can be translated as “The Crucial Years”, but literally it is “The Christ Years”, based on the idiomatic notion that a man should accomplish something in life before he reaches the age of Jesus when he was crucified. The film surely has some autobiographical elements, as it is about a beginning artist from Eastern Slovakia who lives and works in Prague. Read More »