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

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

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Quote:
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

Otakar Vávra – Kladivo na carodejnice AKA Witches’ Hammer AKA Witchhammer (1970)

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Synopsis:
The time is the seventeenth century. The beggar Maryna Schuchová hides the Host in her scarf at the Communion. She admits to the parish priest Schmidt that she intended to give it to the midwife Groerová to heal her ailing cow. The young priest declares her a witch and convinces the Sumperk countess De Galle to summon the inquisitor Boblig from Edelstadt. This failed student of law sees the offer as a great opportunity. He uses torture and threats to force the women from the to testify to their meetings with the devil and learn by heart the lies he has made up for the inquisition tribunal. Boblig accuses the wealthy burghers of witchcraft as well, and so wants to seize their possessions.

— IMDb. Continue reading

Oldrich Lipský – Happy End (1967)

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Quote:
Delightfully witty and with a Kafkaesque spin, Oldřich Lipský‘s brilliant film Happy End (1967) is a quirky little gem from the archives of cinematic history. Crafted with unrelenting precision and grace, Stastny Konec (to give it its Czech name) really gives its audience a taste of the bleak humour renowned by Czech comedy. Without spoiling too much, the film concerns the wondrous (or tragic) life-story of the kind-hearted (or vengeful) butcher Bedrich Frydrych (Vladmír Mensík), his various ups and downs with his wife Julie (Jaroslava Obermaierová) and the tribulations of a surreal existence in reverse. Continue reading

Petr Kazda & Tomás Weinreb – Já, Olga Hepnarová AKA I, Olga Hepnarova (2016)

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Olga Hepnarova was a young, lonely lesbian outsider from a coldhearted family who couldn’t play the part society had chosen for her. Her paranoid self-examination and inability to connect with other people eventually drove her over the edge of humanity when she was only 22 years old. The film shows the human being behind the mass murderer. Guided by her letters, we delve into Olga’s psyche and witness the worsening of her loneliness.

Olga is a complex young woman desperate to break free from her unfeeling family and social conventions. With her Louise Brooks-like tomboyish looks she drags herself, chain-smoking, from one job to another until she appears to find her niche as a truck driver. Although she has female lovers she does not form a bond with any of them; instead she clashes, time and again, venting herself in wordless emotional outbursts and other behavioural extremes. Continue reading

Vera Chytilová – Pasti, pasti, pasticky AKA Traps (1998)

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From starburstmagazine
For anyone feeling a little squeamish, of vegetarian inclination or just full from a hearty meal, the graphic opening scenes of Traps (or Pasti, Pasti, Pasticky to give its original title) that feature pig castration may prove a little difficult to stomach. These images also feel burned into your retina somehow; a poignant, pre-emptive piece of filmmaking that becomes disturbingly relevant later in the film. For Czech new wave director Vera Chytilovà, filmmaking was a mission. She became a dominant force in the industry and was often described as a militant feminist, although she preferred the term individualist. Traps bears many of the hallmarks that justify both these labels, and even now remains both boldly ambitious and deeply flawed. Continue reading

Jirí Krejcík – Vyssi princip AKA Higher Principle (1960)

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SYNOPSIS from kviff.com:

Jiří Krejčík’s A Higher Principle, together with Weiss’s film Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (1959), was one of those Czechoslovak films at the forefront of what is characterised in literature as the second wave of war prose. After years of the schematism and trivialisation of heroic pathos, films were gradually appearing towards the end of the 1950s which treated the theme of war with greater intimacy, and the heroism of those who resisted evil and Nazi barbarity was not so apparent at first glance. Krejčík selected a story by Jan Drda written almost immediately after the liberation, whose short text he and the author considerably reshaped. Continue reading