Czech Republic

Juraj Herz – Spalovac mrtvol AKA The Cremator (1969) (HD)

Czechoslovak New Wave iconoclast Juraj Herz’s terrifying, darkly comic vision of the horrors of totalitarian ideologies stars a supremely chilling Rudolf Hrušínský as the pathologically morbid Karel Kopfrkingl, a crematorium manager in 1930s Prague who believes fervently that death offers the only true relief from human suffering. When he is recruited by the Nazis, Kopfrkingl’s increasingly deranged worldview drives him to formulate his own shocking final solution. Blending the blackest of gallows humor with disorienting expressionistic flourishes—queasy point-of-view shots, distorting lenses, jarring quick cuts—the controversial, long-banned masterpiece The Cremator is one of cinema’s most trenchant and disturbing portraits of the banality of evil. Read More »

Jirí Weiss – Vlcí jáma AKA The Wolf Trap (1957)

The childless family of the veterinarian and mayor of a small town, Robert Rýdl, and his much older wife, Klára, is joined by an orphaned girl, Jana. The girl is grateful for her new home but she slowly begins to feel a strange atmosphere that reigns in the house. Klára brought her property into the marriage and loves her husband with a possessive and stifling love. The emotionally suffering Robert falls in love with Jana. When he realizes that the girl returns his love, he uses the offer for a business trip to Opava to run away from the insoluble problem. Jana is unhappy, she is afraid of the two spiteful maids and discovers the bad side of Klára’s outwardly kind nature. The two women pay a visit to Robert in Opava. They are walking in the town and something unpleasant happens. Rýdl’s acquaintances think that Jana is his wife and Klára his mother-in-law. Robert Rýdl runs away again, this time to Prague. He leaves Jana alone with Klára who has fallen seriously ill and finally dies. Robert is free but his previous cowardly behaviour destroyed Jana’s love. The girl leaves Robert right after the funeral. Read More »

David Ondrícek – Samotári aka Loners (2000)

There are seven Prague-based characters, all in their mid twenties. Each reflects a part of the chaos in our own lives, and the mess in our heads. Almost all of them attempt to forge and sustain “serious” relationships, which in turn become a series of clashes and lead to disappointment, and finally back to loneliness. Read More »

Václav Marhoul – Nabarvené ptáce AKA The Painted Bird (2019)

Quote:
In an unidentified area of war-torn Eastern Europe, a young boy is sent by his parents to live in safety with his aunt. But she dies unexpectedly, so he sets off on a journey to return home. He roams alone in a wild and hostile world in which only local rules, prejudices and superstitions apply. His struggle for virtually physical survival after the war turns into a battle of a different type. A battle that he doesn’t even realize, a fight with himself, a fight for his soul, for his future. Read More »

Jan Sverák – Akumulator 1 (1994)

Quote:
In this movie, TV sets are full of life. If a person is in TV (e.g. because it was filmed on the street) it has a double that’s right in the TV set. This double needs energy from the true character to survive. Each time, the real human watches TV, his Double will pull life energy from him. So there’s a mysterious Death-serial. Many persons die in front of their TV set and nobody knows why. Olda, the main character, is one of the persons, that get more and more weak. He is near death, till Fisarek, the natural healer appears.He teaches Olda how he can resist this magic force and how he can fight it. Read More »

Jirí Menzel – Vesnicko má stredisková AKA My Sweet Little Village (1985)

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Jiri Menzel of Closely Watched Trains fame directed the sweet little Czechoslovakian comedy/drama My Sweet Little Village. The life’s blood of the titular community is a collective farm. Marian Labuda is the farm’s truck driver, and also the
partner-protector of Janos Ban, who is the village idiot. Like everyone else in the village, Labuda has watched out for Ban and covered up his mistakes, but in recent weeks the situation has become intolerable and Labuda demands a new partner. As Ban prepares to be relocated to Prague, we cut away to various subplots, all of which lead to the same conclusion: the hapless Ban has always been the “glue” that has held the community together. A contrite Labuda heads for Prague to invite Ban to come back home. Originally titled Vesnicko Ma Stediskova, My Sweet Little Village was a 1986 Academy Award “best foreign-language picture” nominee.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Read More »

Otakar Vávra – Oldrich a Božena (1985)

“At the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries Boleslav’s kingdom fell apart in the fratricidal war between the Přemyslovci and the other clans the main profiteer of this being the German emperor. At that time it seemed as if the Czech state and the lineage of its princes was awaiting its end…” It is with these words that the tale of this film begins, whose narrative is based upon the the play by František Hrubín of the same name. Read More »