Milos Forman – Konkurs AKA Talent Competition (1964)

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Two closely related episodes. Youths make problems for two local orchestras about to compete nationally, and in a talent competition a young girl gets stage fright, while another lies to her boss to compete. Continue reading Milos Forman – Konkurs AKA Talent Competition (1964)

Peter Tscherkassky – Ji.hlava IDFF Presents: Masterclass – Peter Tscherkassky (2014)

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Master Class of Peter Tscherkassky starts with the screening of Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine, premiered at Cannes IFF as part of the independent section, Quinzaine des réalisateurs. The Master Class itself focuses on an analysis of this film.

Peter Tscherkassky was born in 1958 in Vienna. He studied journalism and political science as well as philosophy at the University of Vienna. Tscherkassky began filming in 1979 when he acquired Super-8 equipment and before the end of the year he had scripted and started off the shooting of Kreuzritter. Tscherkassky’s deconstructions of film material reinterpret fragments from the history of cinematography, simultaneously creating entirely unique qualities. Continue reading Peter Tscherkassky – Ji.hlava IDFF Presents: Masterclass – Peter Tscherkassky (2014)

Wiktor Grodecki – Not Angels But Angels (1994)

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Interviews with a procurer and with nineteen boys and young men who are prostitutes in Prague. The youths range in age from 14 to 19. They hustle at the central train station and at clubs. Most of their clients are foreign tourists, many are German. The youths talk about why they hustle, their first trick, prices, dangers, what they know about AIDS, their fears (disease and loneliness), and how they imagine their futures. The film’s title, its liturgical score, much of it elegiac, and shots of the city’s statues of angels underline the vulnerability and callow lack of sophistication of the young men. Continue reading Wiktor Grodecki – Not Angels But Angels (1994)

Frantisek Vlácil – Marketa Lazarová (1967)

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In less than a minute, before the film’s opening titles even conclude, Marketa Lazarová has announced itself as something potentially unique, perhaps indefinable. The first line of a brief prologue declares, “This tale was cobbled together almost at random,” before a title card reiterates what we’re about to see as a “rhapsody in film,” one “freely adapted” by director František Vláčil and co-screenwriter František Pavlíček. That all these things are soon confirmed, even exceeded, is certainly the impetus behind Marketa Lazarová’s reputation as simultaneously one of the greatest and most difficult works of Czechoslovakian cinema. Though it emerged at the height of what came to be known as the Czech New Wave, this 1967 film stands as something rare not just amid the anarchic vulgarity of Daisies or the emotional naïveté of Loves of a Blonde, but also among the greater cinematic landscape of the period. What this film is—along with being, yes, random, free, and rhapsodic—is something stranger, something paradoxical and altogether original: an intimate epic, a tangible hallucination, a visceral symphony, and, perhaps most affectingly, a beautiful display of brutality. Continue reading Frantisek Vlácil – Marketa Lazarová (1967)

Milos Forman – Lásky jedné plavovlásky AKA Loves of a Blonde (1965)

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The flirtatious title of Milos Forman’s breakthrough comedy Loves of a Blonde says a lot about the film without even trying. Everybody in Forman’s bittersweet film thinks about sex constantly but only in terms of hypothetical scenarios that almost never come to pass. The funny thing about these daydreams of coitus is that they’re not strictly sexy. In fact, most of the time characters in Loves of a Blonde are wringing their hands about sex, even the trio of homely soldiers licking their lips at the thought of seducing a table of bored blondes at a local dance. First they send alcohol to the wrong table and are subsequently unsure of how long they should smile at the girls they plan on getting drunk and taking to the woods (they aren’t even sure if the idea of taking girls to the woods for sex is just a euphemism or not). Sex is comedy here because it breeds nothing but the kind of anxiety that the title of Forman’s film teems with. Continue reading Milos Forman – Lásky jedné plavovlásky AKA Loves of a Blonde (1965)

Petr Václav – Nikdy nejsme sami AKA We Are Never Alone (2016)

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A paranoid prison guard moves into a village flanked by a state motorway. He befriends his new neighbour, an unemployed hypochondriac supported by his wife, working in the local grocery. Weary of life and caring for her two sons, she develops an attraction to the nightclub bouncer, but he is in love with the club stripper, who is in turn waiting for the father of her child to return from the same prison where our prison guard works. A story about the demons of our day. Continue reading Petr Václav – Nikdy nejsme sami AKA We Are Never Alone (2016)

Wiktor Grodecki – Telo bez duse AKA Body Without Soul (1996)

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An unflinching portrait of life on the post-Communist streets of Prague where young men find it all too easy to pick up extra money as porno models and hustlers. Their clients consist largely of German, Swiss, and Dutch tourists in search of cheap sex – and for additional income they make pornos on the side. Along the way they are ripped off, abused, and degraded until they simply wear out. Continue reading Wiktor Grodecki – Telo bez duse AKA Body Without Soul (1996)