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
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 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
Dedicated home care nurse Vlasta lives for her husband Lada, her daughter, and her patients. But then one day things change and Vlasta comes to realize that she might need some care too. Continue reading
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
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
Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, a confirmed bachelor and a lady’s man. Having lost his place in the state orchestra, he must make ends meet by playing at funerals and painting tombstones. But he has run up a large debt, and when his friend, the grave-digger Mr. Broz, suggests a scheme for making a lot of money by marrying a Russian woman so that she can get her Czech papers, he reluctantly agrees. She takes advantage of the situation to emigrate to West Germany, to her lover; and leaves her five-year-old son with his grandmother; when the grandmother dies, Kolya must come and live with his stepfather – Louka. Continue reading