Tag Archives: Czech

Andrea Sedlackova – Toyen: La baronne subversive du surréalisme AKA, Toyen: The Baroness of Surrealism (2022)

If Leonora Carrington was England’s “lost surrealist” the Czech title must surely go to Marie Cermínová, AKA Toyen or “the baroness” to her friends – a name that characterised her remote and somewhat aloof bearing. Like Leonora Carrington, Toyen’s life contained much hardship and loss and the art of both women reflected their intense inner suffering. Toyen knew hunger and poverty and watched those she loved dying around her, one by one. Read More »

Jan Svankmajer – Sílení AKA Lunacy (2005)

A horror movie testing two approaches to running an insane asylum – absolute freedom versus control and punishment – within the context of a world that combines the worst of both. Jean Berlot, a young man subject to a nightmare of being forced into a straitjacket by two orderlies, is befriended by a marquis. At the marquis’s estate, Jean witnesses a black Mass, buries someone alive, and is invited to try preventive therapy. He’s willing to enter a sanatorium because he believes he can rescue a young woman from there who has told him that the real director and staff of the clinic are locked in the basement. Jean conspires with her to set them free: the horrors have only begun. Read More »

Jan Prusinovský – Chyby AKA Emma in Love (2021)

Emma is a lively 25-year-old shop assistant living in a small town. Tomas is a 30-year-old roofer living in a village nearby the capital. They spend a night together, with no expectations. However, it becomes the start of a relationship, love, living together. Emma decides to unburden herself and is ready to tell Tomas about her tainted background. Tomas doesn’t want to hear it as he wants to live “here and now”. A random episode unveils Emma’s past and starts off a series of incidents which turn their lives upside down. Read More »

Karel Steklý – Siréna AKA The Strike (1947)

This winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1947 is a social drama directed by Karel Steklý, whose style has much in common with Italian Neorealism. The main themes of Steklý’s post-war film output were social inequality, oppression, and the exploitation of the proletariat. The film’s story, which was inspired by two chapters of Marie Majerová’s novel of the same name, follows this very thematic line. Siréna depicts industrial Kladno at the end of the 19th century when a miners’ strike over low wages was uncompromisingly suppressed by the gendarmerie. The film’s impressiveness is partly rooted in the convincing depiction of the mining milieu as well as in the sombre music of E. F. Burian. The film focuses on the Hudec family, whose young daughter Emča (Pavla Suchá) serves as a symbol for the suffering of the working class in the heroic struggle against capitalism. Read More »

Vera Chytilová – TGM Osvoboditel AKA Tomas Garrigue Masaryk a Liberator (1990)

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was the first President of Czechoslovakia (1918-1935), independence movement leader and philosopher. After the Velvet Revolution, Chytilová turns to Masaryk to ensure some continuity between her country’s past and present. Read More »

Vera Chytilová – Pátrání po Ester AKA In Search of Ester (2005)

Ester Krumbachová – an artist, screenwriter, director, one of the most important names of the Czech New Wave. She worked for the theatre, wrote, illustrated. She was in the middle of the artistic life in Prague in the sixties. The director Věra Chytilová asks those who knew Ester Krumbachová, cooperated with her, were her friends, loved her. She puts together a picture of an inspiring person. She starts a search which should end with the answer to the question: Who was Ester? Evening with the presence of the film authors. Read More »

Vera Chytilová – Kalamita AKA Calamity (1982)

As with Chytilová’s other work, the story of a young train driver was the result of compromises the director had won in defiance of Barrandov’s dramaturges. The studio had offered her the project as there was little interest in the material in view of the tough winter exterior shoot. The director rewrote Josef Šilhavý’s screenplay, turning a ‘consolidation’ story of university students finding a new meaning of life among railway workers into a bitterly amusing parable about contemporary Czechoslovakia. This meant the film’s production faced dangers not only from the unpredictable elements but also censorship and studio pressure. Read More »