Czech Republic

Vojtech Jasný – Vsichni dobrí rodáci AKA All My Good Countrymen (1969)

The 1968 Czechoslovakian film All My Good Countrymen (Všichni dobrí rodáci) is a tremendous piece of cinema. It’s the kind of picture one watches on several occasions across a lifetime, both to better understand what it has to say and also to feel more attuned to the culture and history it represents. The film feels epic in scope, despite coming in at under two hours in length, and this is largely because of its focus on a single setting across a dozen or so years, with numerous wonderful and ugly things happening in the interim. Director Vojtech Jasný also wrote it, putting in a decade’s worth of work to make what would become his signature film. It would be the last feature he’d get to direct in his home country for decades, as Jasný was effectively banned from filmmaking as a result. Read More »

Zdenek Viktora – Raluca (2014)

A detective falls in love with a beautiful woman he meets in a bar…

Former cop Filip Marold doesn’t want to be reminded of some things from his past. But others remind him… He works as a private detective, sleeps with his secretary and spies on people for money. All up to the moment when he meets seductive Raluca and his life turns upside down. Is it just a coincidence? Fate? Or has someone set a trap? Even in his wildest dreams he wouldn’t imagine the things that were about to happen. Read More »

Jirí Menzel – Domy z panelu aka Prefabricated Houses (1959)

A student work by Jiří Menzel, filmed during his second year at the FAMU film school. Views of old Prague and its tenement buildings, symbolising the obsolete past, alternate with shots of construction sites for new prefabricated apartment buildings. In spite of certain unavoidable propagandistic overtones added by the director, it is notable as the beginning of his search for a “dramaturgy of colours.” Read More »

Jindrich Polák – Klaun Ferdinand a raketa AKA Clown Ferdinand and the Rocket [German Version] (1963)

When Clown Ferdinand enters an abandoned city in his wagon he ends up on a space rocket where he meets a robot that can turn invisible. Read More »

Zbynek Brynych – Transport z raje aka Transport From Paradise (1963)

Transport from Paradise is set in an unusual World War II concentration camp. The lax Nazi guards permit their Jewish prisoners to roam freely about the camp and conduct their own business and social affairs, without the threat of instant extermination looming over their heads. The prisoners’ main fear is that they may at any moment be shipped off to one of the death camps. In the film’s incredibly heartbreaking climax, a group of prisoners willingly board a train to Auschwitz, laboring under the delusion that they are being sent to another “paradise” camp at the behest of the Council of Jewish Elders. Though it stretches credibility at times, Transport from Paradise is purportedly based on a true story. Read More »

Lucie Belohradská – Specialita séfkuchare AKA Specialty of the House (2000)

Mr. Laffler (Jiří Lábus) is strange. Everyone in the office he runs knows that. The clerk, Costain, (Lukáš Hlavica) also knows this, so he is very surprised when his otherwise impersonal boss does something as human as inviting Costain to dinner. But not at home. At home, he says, he does not accept guests. He leads him to an inconspicuous, secluded restaurant U Sbirra, where a very closed company of strange people meet. Read More »

Krsto Skanata – Prvi padez – Covek AKA First Case – Man (1964)

“The film has three plans: on the one hand, scenes of children who write a school task on the subject of the size and ugliness of a human being, on the other hand, the cadres of miners who protest against inhuman maltreatment of a colleague who lost his hand and on the third side, a shot of a disabled person with a prosthesis Under the arm passes through a rocky street.” Read More »