An allegory set in an archetypal Czech village, it tells of what happens when a sequence of mysterious events take place, including the disappearance of the stationmaster. While everything has a rational explanation, collective paranoia takes hold and everyone’s worst instincts are released. Interrogations, the abolition of rights and the search for scapegoats ultimately lead to murder
Tag Archives: Czech
Údolí vcel / The Valley of the Bees (1968) Frantisek Vlácil, Petr Cepek, Jan Kacer, Vera Galatíková, Drama, History
Ondrej, a young boy who loves bees and bats, is introduced to his new mother, a woman much younger than his father. He brings her a basketful of flowers which she starts to throw in the air and then gives out a shriek, as she discovers several bats in the bottom of the bowl. In a rage, Ondrej’s father picks the boy up and hurls him against the wall. As the boy lays on the ground paralyzed the father promises the Holy Virgin to dedicate the boy to her if she spares his life. Ondrej survives and is raised in a strict Knightly Order, where he is mentored by a devout monk, Armin. But one day, an extraordinary event makes him doubt the Order and remember where he came from.
Tmavomodrý svet / Dark Blue World (2001) Jan Sverák, Ondrej Vetchý, Krystof Hádek, Tara Fitzgerald, War, Drama, Action
March 15, 1939: Germany invades Czechoslovakia. Czech and Slovak pilots flee to England, joining the RAF. After the war, back home, they are put in labor camps, suspected of anti-Communist ideas. This film cuts between a post-war camp where Franta is a prisoner and England during the war, where Franta is like a big brother to Karel, a very young pilot. On maneuvers, Karel crash lands by the rural home of Susan, an English woman whose husband is MIA. She spends one night with Karel, and he thinks he’s found the love of his life. It’s complicated by Susan’s attraction to Franta. How will the three handle innocence, Eros, friendship, and the heat of battle? When war ends, what then?
Tisícrocná vcela / The Millennial Bee (1983) Juraj Jakubisko, Jozef Kroner, Stefan Kvietik, Michal Docolomanský, Comedy, Drama, War
A historic mega-film, one family saga, three generations (1887 -1917) assimilated to the bee community in the hive. The queen bee serves as a big mother that symbolizes the family and national roots, the power and meaning of tradition and the return to it. The mosaic of the bricklaying Pichanda family’s lives is made of love, hope, hard work, human understanding and also the tragedies of economic crisis, war and human malice. Dreams, symbols, and life in all its forms create a colored rainbow spanning from birth to death and from mystery to reality and back.
Panenství / Virginity (1937) Otakar Vávra, Lída Baarová, Jaroslava Skorkovská, Frantisek Kreuzmann, Drama
Young and stunningly beautiful Hana is thrown into the street after her mother catches her stepfather sexually harassing Hana. She finds a new job at a café where she becomes the object of lust for her new boss and the sleazy male customers. Hana, who is still repulsed by men, rejects their offers and expensive gifts. She later falls in love with a young composer Pavel but he soon falls seriously ill and only an expensive medical treatment can save him. Hana starts thinking about accepting the indecent proposal made by one of her customers to get the money needed for Pavel’s therapy.
Slnko v sieti / The Sun in a Net (1962) Stefan Uher, Marián Bielik, Jana Beláková, Olga Salagová, Drama
Oldrich “Fajolo” Fajták (Marián Bielik), a student who directs quasi-existentialist verbal abuse at his girlfriend Bela Blazejová (Jana Beláková), takes off to a formally volunteer summer work camp at a farm where he meets her grandfather.
A narration of episodes from the life of the famous Czech poet, Karel Hynek Mácha. Throughout the film, we witness a deep analysis of Mácha’s complex character (his relation to another Czech writer of the time Josef Kajetán Tyl, his unbearable jealousy, his solitude, his attitude to nature,etc.) on the well-depicted historical background with all its particularities.
Based on the only extensive prose work by the surrealist painter Josef Capek, Shades of Fern most resembles the philosophical fairy tales and fables of Josef’s older brother, the legendary Czech novelist and playwright Karel Capek. Two young poachers, more boys than men, kill a gamekeeper when they are caught illegally hunting. Panicked, they retreat into a forest that grows steadily more forbidding and deadly as their fear for the future—and guilt over their action—mounts. Loosely based on hundreds of oral folk tales and legends that haunt the woods of Czechoslovakia, Vlácil’s contemporary updating artistically underscores the relationship between man and nature, crime and punishment, isolation and society, and guilt and memory.
Tale Bozena Nemcova served as a template for a romantic story about a courageous, self-made girl scorned daughter of a shepherd, who is not afraid of anything – neither night nor swim. But the superstitious villagers about her telling all sorts of strange things, even seeking union with the powers of hell. Bold and courageous Bara stupid prejudices of their fellow men almost suffer. Energetic girl brings her pieces to boil the whole village.
Skola otcu / School for Fathers (1957) Ladislav Helge, Karel Höger, Blazena Holisová, Josef Mixa, Drama
A new teacher with high standards and a strong sense of duty replaces an easy grader. Once bad grades begin to pile up, a product of his predecessor’s subservience to the system, the new teacher has to stand up for himself and his students.