Jirí Menzel

  • Jirí Menzel – Kdo hledá zlaté dno aka Who Looks for Gold? (1975)

    Jirí Menzel1971-1980Czech RepublicDrama

    From ce-review.org
    Menzel could not work in films for some time after Skřivánci na niti. It was a period when he had to decide if he would accept the rules dictated by the regime or leave his profession yet keep his “artistic freedom.” This difficult situation was also faced by other members of the Czech New Wave. Miloš Forman, Jan Němec and Ivan Passer decided to emigrate, while Věra Chytilová and Evald Schorm stayed in Czechoslovakia even though they could not work as film directors (Chytilová for seven years, Schorm for 17 years).Read More »

  • Jirí Menzel – Postriziny AKA Cutting it Short (1981)

    1981-1990ComedyCzech RepublicJirí Menzel

    Synopsis wrote:
    Short Cut is a comedy revealed more in the acting and witty dialogue than in the simple premise of the story itself: how the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal was born. Actually, the story is, in many ways, the writer’s conception.Read More »

  • Jirí Menzel – Zlocin v santánu aka Crime in the Night Club (1968)

    1961-1970CrimeCzech RepublicJirí MenzelMusical

    The charming singer Clara Regina has many admirers. Even the minister of justice fights for her favour, especially enchanted by Clara’s lullaby. Clara’s successes with men are watched with displeasure by her jealous husband, Ikaro Volante. The minister sends a bouquet and a pearl necklace to the singer. The juggler Piterman steals the pearls but frames her shy assistant Pepícek, who, along with inexperienced defence lawyer Vilém Bojanovský, falls victim to blind justice in an unfair world full of intrigue… The form of this outwardly noncommittal crime musical, featuring the songs of Šlitr and Suchý, is influenced by the dark atmosphere that pervaded society after the Prague Spring efforts at reform were crushed in August 1968: the two convicts, performed by this duo from Prague’s Semafor theatre, can now do nothing but sing.Read More »

  • Jirí Menzel – Skrivánci na niti AKA Larks on a String (1969)

    Jirí Menzel1961-1970Czech RepublicDramaPolitics

    Shot in 1968, but banned by the Czech government until the fall of the Communist regime in 1990, Menzel’s wry comic drama is a hymn to humanity and nonconformity. The film’s principal characters are residents of a state-run junkyard / labour camp for those whose actions have been deemed counter-revolutionary. On one side of the yard live the men, most sent here for re-education. On the other side, are a group of women interned for the crime of attempted defection. Separately, the two groups lazily toil, sorting out piles of scrap metal (one huge pile is nothing less than a veritable mountain of crucifixes and religious icons); together, they flirt, philosophize, and occasionally sneak off behind the hillocks of slag to make love. Larks on a String is at once a stinging indictment of the repressive politics of Czechoslovakia’s past, and an endearing comedy and affecting love story.Read More »

  • Jirí Menzel – Domy z panelu aka Prefabricated Houses (1959)

    1951-1960ArchitectureCzech RepublicDocumentaryJirí MenzelShort Film

    A student work by Jiří Menzel, filmed during his second year at the FAMU film school. Views of old Prague and its tenement buildings, symbolising the obsolete past, alternate with shots of construction sites for new prefabricated apartment buildings. In spite of certain unavoidable propagandistic overtones added by the director, it is notable as the beginning of his search for a “dramaturgy of colours.”Read More »

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

    1981-1990ComedyCzech RepublicDramaJirí Menzel


    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 GuideRead More »

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

    1961-1970ArthouseCzech RepublicEvald SchormJan NemecJaromil JiresJirí MenzelShort FilmVera Chytilová

    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 directionRead More »

  • Jirí Menzel – Postriziny AKA Cutting It Short (1981)

    Drama1981-1990ComedyCzech RepublicJirí Menzel

    Short Cut is a comedy revealed more in the acting and witty dialogue than in the simple premise of the story itself: how the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal was born. Actually, the story is, in many ways, the writer’s conception. The setting is a small town where Hrabal’s father Francine (Jiri Schmitzer) is in charge of a large brewery. Both the blessing and bane of his life is his gorgeous wife Marja (Magda Vasaryova). Blessing, because she is not only beautiful but resourceful and intelligent and lively, bane because every other man would like to get to know her better. Marja saves the day more than once, and the couple are happy in their life together. When Francine’s brother arrives for a visit, an attraction starts to develop between Marja and her brother-in-law that may have upset the marriage, were it not for a fortuitous accident. Read More »

  • Jirí Menzel – Na samote u lesa AKA Seclusion Near a Forest (1976)

    1971-1980ArthouseCzech RepublicJirí MenzelRomance

    The story of a Prague family who decides to buy a country cottage, but also with a “grandfather”, the original owner. He currently rents one room to them and promises to sell the whole house later. However, the sale itself is constantly postponed, so the eager Praguers are forced to live with him on weekends and holidays…

    From the confrontation of people from the city and the rural environment, the authors Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak were able to benefit from a number of unforgettable comedic situations, and at the same time very aptly describe the phenomenon of cottage farming, which spread in the 1970s.Read More »

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