Jan Kacer

  • 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 »

  • Hynek Bocan – Nikdo se nebude smát AKA Nobody Will Laugh (1966)

    1961-1970ComedyCzech RepublicDramaHynek Bocan

    One of the film’s topics is shown in the credit sequence: from above we watch the tracks made in the snow by people in the street. Eventually we see the beaten tracks that people don’t leave. Then the camera moves down and we watch the people who made the tracks- a policeman prominent among them- as they walk around greeting each other. Until the snow melts only two people- the central character and his girlfriend- consider leaving the tracks.Read More »

  • Frantisek Vlácil – Albert (1985)

    Drama1981-1990Frantisek VlácilSlovakiaTV

    A poor but great violinist is invited to stay at an aristocrat’s house. It is based on a short story by Lev Nikolaevic Tolstoj.Read More »

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

    1961-1970ComedyCrimeCzech RepublicVáclav Vorlícek

    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 »

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

    1961-1970ArthouseCzech RepublicDramaEvald Schorm

    “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)

    1961-1970ArthouseCzech RepublicDramaEvald Schorm

    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 »

  • Jan Spata – Respice finem (1967)

    1961-1970Czech RepublicDocumentaryJan SpataShort Film

    Almost half-a-million widows older than 65 years lived in Czechoslovakia in late ’60. Many of them spend the last years of their lives in the countryside. Their men died, children moved on, and they are left alone with their work and daily troubles, solitary with their fate, their beliefs, with memories of momentary happiness and past injustices, with wisdom and humility of age, as well as nature’s simplicity which surrounds them all the time.Read More »

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