My Czech Film Festival

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Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby wpqx » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:30 pm

Dita Saxova (1967) - Antonin Moskalyk

Can't say much due to time, just writing down having seen it. This is one of the few (if only thusfar) Cinemascope film I've seen from Czechoslovakia. The large canvas helps in some respects, but the film is hardly the ambitious project one would expect of the larger frame.
wpqx
 


Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:48 pm

Try watching Kadar's Adrift.
arsaib4
 

Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby wpqx » Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:06 pm

The film (Dita Saxova) seemed a lot like a French New Wave picture, at least in terms of the acting. Very removed and unemotional. Not sure entirely why this film was banned, but such was the case with many films of the era.
wpqx
 

Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby wpqx » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:23 pm

Larks on a String (1969/1991) Jeri Menzel

This long banned film from Jeri Menzel was something of a follow up to his astonishing success Closely Watched Trains. Had this been released in a timely fashion it may have very well been the centerpiece of the Czech New Wave. The film is imbued with all the subversive humor one would expect from the movement, and the film is so self critical its not surprising that it was banned. However so many films that were far tamer were also kept away from the public. The film takes place in a junkyard and one has to laugh when this group of workers goes on strike. A playful bit of spying on the women's prison camp made me think of the shower scene in Altman's MASH. The wheels of industry look to be coming to a crushing halt. Every line about the greatness of their nation comes with a grain of salt. I loved the old man in the group who consistently spouts revolutionary rhetoric. A clear highlight in this first part of my little marathon/fest.
wpqx
 

Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby madhuban » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:12 am

@arsaib

Thanks for the excerpts from Hoberman's take. I wouldn't rave about any of them, though I've seen them long ago. Maybe a re-watch would help. In fact, while we are on the subject of Vavra, Witches' Hammer is an incredible film! Since Facets has it, wpqx might like to add it to his Czech cinema marathon

@wpqx

Ain't I glad that you found Larks on a String to be a highlight! Following it up with Capricious Summer might not be such a bad idea
madhuban
 

Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby wpqx » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:28 am

@madhuban

I'll have you know that Capricious Summer is next on my list to watch.

Diamonds of the Night (1964) - Jan Nemec

I'll be honest I had to watch this one twice. @#%$ around on my computer forced me to miss nearly everything the first time around. The second time around I realized that even with paying attention this film is still a head scratcher. Nemec bounces from fantasy to reality so often its like you're stuck in a perpetual dream. The film is constructed as though you are periodically waking up and falling back asleep instantly. The films hand held camera and long shots make us feel as though we're running with these two Jews. The film is all very subjective, and quite possibly the finest Czech film I've seen.
wpqx
 

Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby wpqx » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:22 pm

Capricious Summer (1967) - Jeri Menzel

Well this might be the first film in my festival not banned. Nothing really subversive about this film, just simply a tale of misadventure and a summer holiday gone wrong. The film is accurately described as a coming of middle age story, and that puts an interesting spin on it. This could just have easily been a tale of youth experiencing life lessons while in a summer resort. However Menzel playfully makes his cast far from youthful in appearance. Their antics however gradually become more and more immature as the film progresses. Menzel himself plays the magician who comes to town with a remarkably beautiful and luscivious daughter. This temptress of a daughter inspires all the desires of these gentlemen, causing fights and havoc all over. Even the morally superior major succumbs and while attempting to force himself upon the girl he winds up falling asleep on her just as she's ready to give in. Not a major work, but certainly a nice lighthearted effort from the man many consider to be Czechoslovakia's greatest filmmaker.
wpqx
 

Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby wpqx » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:39 am

Adelheid (1969) - Frantisek Vlacil

One of the most powerful Czech films of the era, Frantisek Vlacil's Adelheid ranks more alongside the era's Russian and Hungarian films than with his fellow countrymen. The story deals with the aftermath of WWII (not entirely new to the movement) but the cold isolation of the film evokes the bitter ties of conflicted loyaly found in the more ambiguous films of other nations. A love story blossoms but a cold and detached one, that ultimately leaves one half completely removed. Vlacil stages most of the action in one house where the title character is now working as a maid. The house was owned by her family during the war, but a family of German's naturally lost a little following the armistace. The film is cold but powerful and perhaps its only detraction is the fact that the subject matter has been so painfully covered before.

* as a side note I am still looking for Vlacil's Marketa Lazarova which sounds like one of the best films ever, but likewise far from the norm for his country.

Adelheid is available on VHS courtesy of Facets.
wpqx
 

Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby madhuban » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:02 am

Superhappyfun has Marketa Lazarova, if I am not mistaken. I found the film very overrated

M
madhuban
 

Re: My Czech Film Festival

Postby wpqx » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:18 am

I'm not surprised, the longer you wait to see a highly rated film, the more likely the disappointment. Tomorrow I'll most likely go find some more to watch.
wpqx
 

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