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
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
Two teenage girls, both named Marie, decide that since the world is spoiled they will be spoiled as well; accordingly they embark on a series of destructive pranks in which they consume and destroy the world about them. This freewheeling, madcap feminist farce was immediately banned by the government. Continue reading
A cautionary tale about the dangers of unprotected promiscuity among heterosexuals, this story chronicles the exploits of three good friends. Pepe is the playboy of the bunch: despite having a lovely girlfriend, he finds a way to have sex with as many women as possible. His buddies from time to time exchange girlfriends with him. Though they are by no means the lothario he is, they do quite enough bed-hopping to get into trouble. When it becomes obvious that Pepe has gotten AIDS, his buddies, afraid for themselves, get mean. Continue reading
Description: The uncompromising director Věra Chytilová, well-known for her harshly mocking attacks on people’s failings and foibles, has created a new filmic parable on human weakness with Vyhnání z ráje (Expulsion from Paradise, 2001), her most recent film. Although fully within the Chytilová tradition of biting moral fable, the film has had a lukewarm reception from Czech and international critics.
The main story of Vyhnání z ráje concerns Rosta, a film director (Bolek Polívka), who is shooting a film at a nudist beach. Everyone in the film crew has different ideas about the genre and style of the film being shot: The director tries to create an artistic work, an experimental metaphor about Adam and Eve; the Russian producer Igor (Milan Šteindler) hopes to see an erotic lovestory produced; and the screenwriter (played by theatre director and dramatist J A Pitínský) aims to express his positive philosophy about humanity through the film. Continue reading
senses of cinema wrote:
The form of the film was really derived from the conceptual basis of the film. Because the concept of the film was destruction, the form became destructive as well.
– Věra Chytilová (1)
I wanted to use colour concepts to disparage a lot of things. I had no intention whatsoever of arousing an aesthetic impression of beauty. But somewhere, early in the game, it turned out that the structure of things with respect to each other created aesthetics whose results I didn’t expect at all. Continue reading
Vera Chytilova wrote and directed this two-part story that took the Grand Prix at the Mannheim Film Festival. Part one deals with the rigorous training of Olympic champion gymnast Eva Bosakova. She contemplates retirement as she goes through a gruelling training schedule known only by world-class athletes. The second story concerns a housewife who is unappreciated and ignored by her husband. Done in a combination of feature and documentary styles, this is the first full-length effort from Vera Chytilova. —allmovieguide Continue reading