Tag Archives: Czech

Jirí Weiss – Zbabelec AKA The Coward (1962)

In a remote Slovak village in the closing days of World War II, a schoolteacher and his young wife find a wounded Russian parachutist in their front yard just as the Germans are coming in to occupy their village. As his wife readily becomes involved with anti-Nazi partisans, the schoolteacher collaborates with the Germans in fear. Read More »

Karel Vachek – Nový Hyperion aneb Volnost, rovnost, bratrství AKA New Hyperion or Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood (1992)

About the film
Following his promising debut in the 1960s with the documentaries Moravian Hellas (1963) and Elective Affinities (1968), director Karel Vachek spent the majority of the 1970s and 1980s as a political persona non grata, at times working various blue-collar jobs and at times in emigration, without completing a single film project. He was rehabilitated only following the events of 1989, which permitted him to return to Prague’s Krátký Film studio. The societal events surrounding Vachek’s return to filmmaking in 1990 have much in common with those over twenty years earlier, in 1968, that allowed him to make Elective Affinities. In 1990, Czech and Slovak society was facing its first democratic parliamentary elections since 1945. Read More »

Václav Vorlícek – Konec agenta W4C prostrednictvím psa pana Foustky AKA The End of Agent W4C (1967)

Synopsis:
The invincible agent Cyril Juan Borguette alias W4C (Jan Kacer) has been assigned a mission to go to a hotel in Prague, get hold of a saltcellar with a plan for the military exploitation of Venus hidden in it, and hand it over to the beautiful agent Alice (Kveta Fialová). He will have to compete for the saltcellar with other agents working for the world’s various greater and smaller powers. The head of the Prague counter-intelligence unit gets news of agent W4C’s mission. Deficient in personnel, he nominates accountant Foustka (Jirí Sovák) as agent 13B. Mr Foustka takes his dog Pajda with him and the two head for the airport. Pajda helps him track down agent W4C in a classy hotel that becomes the battleground for the interests and plans of the secret agents from different countries, each trying to get hold of the precious saltcellar. Read More »

Jan Nemec – O slavnosti a hostech AKA The Party and the Guests (1966)

Distinguished as being ‘banned forever’ in its native Czechoslovakia, Nemec’s film is a masterpiece of barbed, darkly sinister wit. As a biting satire of governmental and institutional power and with its astute observations of human nature and conformity, it is a film whose relevance continues to this day.
Considered the most politically dangerous film made during the short flowering of the Czech New Wave in the 1960s, this is its first-ever release on DVD. Read More »

Evald Schorm – Kazdy den odvahu AKA Courage for Every Day (1964)

Synopsis:
“Everyday Courage” or “Courage for Every Day” is a beautifully made fllm of great poetic restraint about a young man living in Prague before the collapse of communism. It is best described as belonging to the school of realism which marked the Czech films of the sixties, and its director, Evald Schorm, was noted for his refusal to compromise the subject matter or style of his films with the regime which controlled the film studios. An admirer of the films of the British director Lindsay Anderson, “Everyday Courage” has similarities with”This Sporting Life”, its hero striving to escape the repressive forces of a society against which he rebels, but which ultimately demoralizes him and undermines his personal relationships. The winner of the International Film Festival in 1965 it has been notably neglected, and was one of the most moving and lyrical films to emerge from the Czech school. Read More »

Evald Schorm – Návrat ztraceného syna AKA The Return of the Prodigal Son (1967)

Quote:
Though he was very much a member of the community of filmmakers who graduated from FAMU and went on to shake things up during the sixties, Evald Schorm also stood apart from the rest. Like his fellow directors, he was using the medium to get at the absurdity of life in Communist Czechoslovakia, but Schorm was dedicated to a more direct, realistic type of filmmaking than his friends Věra Chytilová, Jan Němec, and Jiří Menzel, who readily turned to whimsy, fantasy, and comedy. Referred to as both the philosopher and the conscience of the New Wave, Schorm, whose relatively sober style has been called documentary-like (his focus at FAMU was nonfiction filmmaking) and received comparisons to that of Antonioni, explored themes of morality and the malaise of the socialist middle class (such income-based social strata did exist in Czechoslovakia), and preferred psychological portraiture. Read More »

Vera Chytilová, Jaromil Jires, Jiri Menzel, Jan Nemec & Evald Schorm – Perlicky na dne aka Pearls Of The Deep (1966)

Quote:
One of the defining works of the Czech New Wave was the portmanteau film Pearls from the Deep (Perlicky na dne, 1965). Not only did it bring five key directors of the Wave (Chytilova, Jires, Menzel, Nemec and Schorm) together in one film, making it the Wave’s official “coming out” as a group, but it tied them to a writer, Bohumil Hrabal, whose ability to capture the rhythms and refrains of everyday spoken Czech was highly influential on the Wave’s direction Read More »