Czech

  • Frantisek Vlácil – Adelheid (1969)

    Frantisek Vlácil1961-1970ArthouseCzech RepublicDrama
    Adelheid (1969)
    Adelheid (1969)

    PLOT: In the aftermath of World War II, a former Czech soldier takes charge of a manor formerly owned by a German family. He falls in love with the daughter, who is now a maid, and is forced to confront the stress between his love and his conscience when he discovers her sheltering her German-soldier brother.Read More »

  • Frantisek Vlácil – Udoli vcel AKA Valley of the Bees (1968)

    Frantisek Vlácil1961-1970Czech RepublicDrama
    Udoli vcel (1968)
    Udoli vcel (1968)

    The partnership between director František Vláčil and screenwriter Vladimír Körner yielded films including Adelheid (Adelheid, 1969), Pověst o stříbrné jedli (The Legend of the Silver Fir, 1973) and Stín kapradiny (The Shadow of a Ferns, 1984). But it is the historical drama Údolí včel (The Valley of the Bees, 1967) that is widely regarded as the pair’s greatest collaborative achievement. Released in cinemas shortly after Vláčil’s highly acclaimed Marketa Lazarová (Marketa Lazarová, 1967), The Valley of the Bees came about as a result of efforts to reuse the props and costumes from the director’s previous opus – hitherto the most expensive Czechoslovak film of all time. Körner’s compact concept is very different from the ambitious, expansive adaptation of author Vladislav Vančura’s historical novel Marketa Lazarová. While the former film told the story of Christianity’s battle with paganism, The Valley of the Bees is more of a timeless picture representing a battle between asceticism and freedom. Read More »

  • Vojtech Jasný & Karel Kachyna – Není stále zamraceno AKA It is Not Always Cloudy (1950)

    Vojtech Jasný1961-1970Czech RepublicDocumentaryKarel Kachyna
    Není stále zamraceno (1950)
    Není stále zamraceno (1950)

    The graduate film of Jasny and Kachyna shows both the incredible abilities of its creators and the time of their creation. An untraditionally conceived feature documentary about the settlement of Moldava in the borderland after World War II.It shows the village in an entertaining way from the first settlement to the first successes of collective farming.

    The graduate film of Vojtěch Jasný and Karel Kachyně was the first film by FAMU students to be distributed.Read More »

  • Vladislav Vancura – Na slunecní strane aka On the Sunny Side (1933)

    1931-1940Czech RepublicDramaVladislav Vancura
    Na slunecní strane (1933)
    Na slunecní strane (1933)

    Bursting with the ideas of a who’s-who of the Central European avant-garde, this eye-opening rediscovery is the missing link between Buñuel and Vertov, the Surrealists and the Soviets. Modernist novelist Vladislav Vancura joined forces with the famed Surrealist poet Vitezslav Nezval and the founder of structuralism, Roman Jakobson, to channel their movements’ missions into one superbly energetic film loosely structured around two children caught between their variously incompetent parents and an experimental reform school (“Education by Freedom!”). Vancura unleashes a dizzying storm of competing ideas and aesthetics, mashing up genres and accepted narrative norms to subvert the framework of conventional cinema, and, by extension, society. Anchoring the film’s dizzying camera angles and bizarre vignettes is some pointed commentary, as witnessed in the excesses of the Jazz Age bourgeoisie and the struggles of the Great Depression. On the Sunny Side pulsates with an energy that’s still ahead of its time.Read More »

  • Karel Kachyna – Cukrová bouda (1981)

    Karel Kachyna1981-1990Czech RepublicDramaWar
    Cukrová bouda (1981)
    Cukrová bouda (1981)

    In the final days of the Second World War in 1945 Frantisek Pribyl is killed during a shoot-out with the Germans. After the funeral, the widow (Jana Svandová) and her two young sons Martin and Ondra move to her deceased husband’s native village at the foot of the Kralický Snezník mountains. Life in the borderlands is far from easy for the lonely woman. The village is almost deserted, food supplies are delayed; the Werwolf (Nazi guerrilla squads) are hiding in the mountains, and shooting is heard from time to time. The elder son Ondra (Michal Dlouhý) is helping out his mother and at the same time absorbing intense new experiences. He meets an old Czech resident Skurek (Lubomír Kostelka), German women working in the forest, soldiers from the engineering units removing the mines, and a young first lieutenant. At night he dreams about his dead father whom he loved very much. This is why he runs away from home when he finds out that the lieutenant is courting his mother.Read More »

  • Ján Kadár & Elmar Klos – Touha zvaná Anada AKA Adrift (1971)

    1971-1980Czech RepublicDramaElmar KlosJán Kadár
    Touha zvaná Anada (1971)
    Touha zvaná Anada (1971)

    A fisherman saves Anada, a woman adrift, from drowning. He takes her to his home, and protects her. Eventually, she occupies a larger place than was to be expected. He commits adultery with her, but his own wife seems to be in love with the strange young woman.Read More »

  • Irena Pavlásková – Zemský ráj to napohled AKA An Earthy Paradise for the Eyes (2009)

    Irena Pavlásková2001-2010ComedyCzech RepublicDrama
    Zemský ráj to napohled (2009)
    Zemský ráj to napohled (2009)

    Adolescence is always a difficult time; it is doubly so for Gábina. For one thing, she is growing up in the normalization years of the 1970s, and then she also has to face the reality that her father is a well-known actor disavowed by the regime. Although he abandoned the family years before, his existence casts an ominous shadow over the lives of not only Gábina, but also her older sister and mother, who are trying to find a civilized way through the social mire of the times.Read More »

  • Jan Balej – Mala z rybarny AKA Little From The Fish Shop (2015)

    2011-2020AnimationCzech RepublicFantasyJan Balej
    Malá z rybárny (2015)
    Malá z rybárny (2015)

    Deep underneath the surface of the sea, accompanied by a fish orchestra, the voice of the ocean is telling a story about Little, the daughter of the Sea King. Forced to abandon the devastated, plundered waters of their home, the Sea King and his family ventured to live among humans. In a darkened fish shop in the heart of a harbor district, they now lead a tedious life. One day, the fish shop door flies open and in walks J. J. – a charming streetwise dandy. And this is where the plot thickens…Read More »

  • Karel Kachyna – Prace AKA Slingboy (1960)

    Karel Kachyna1951-1960Czech RepublicDramaWar
    Prace (1960)
    Prace (1960)

    A touching story of a Czech boy who is liberated from a concentration camp and then picked up by a Czechoslovak Army laundry unit under Soviet command. He becomes the unit’s mascot, and is given the nickname “prace” or “slingshot bearer” after Czech boys who had fought with slingshots in the Czech Hussite armies of the 15th century. The boy, along with a little Slovak girl whom the unit also rescues up along the way, participate in the liberation of his homeland.Read More »

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