Tag Archives: Czech

The Very Late Afternoon of a Faun / Faunovo velmi pozdní odpoledne (1983) Vera Chytilová, Leos Sucharípa, Libuse Pospísilová, Vlasta Spicnerová, Comedy

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The strains of Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun” waft through this amusing comedy about an aging lecher’s ever-optimistic pursuit of the fair sex, for fair sex, or better. The “faun” wakes up to a new day of happy hunting because the proof of the pudding is irrelevant, it is the joy of finding the ingredients that matters. Whether out on the streets or at his job in an office, he does not relent in his hopeful approaches to mainly young women, who mainly ignore him. No one is more aware of his skirt-chasing than an older companion in the same office who has loved him from the beginning. And the big question is, will the late-blooming Don Juan come to his senses?

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The Jester’s Tale / Bláznova kronika (1964) Karel Zeman, Petr Kostka, Emília Vásáryová, Miroslav Holub, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

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The Thirty Years’ War is seen from the point of view in this satirical slapstick comedy that combines engravings, old cartoons, montages, special effects, and film. The positions of both sides of the religious war are fair game for biting satirical jabs. Petr (Kastka) plays a peasant who is pressed to join one side before being captured by the enemy and mistaken for a Duke. Matej (Miloslav Holub) can change sides quickly with his reversible cloak. Lenka (Emille Vasaryova) disguises herself as a jester to avoid the conflict and gives her comments about the pompous futility on both sides of the conflict.

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10 Rules / 10 pravidel jak sbalit holku (2014) Karel Janák, Jan Dolanský, Daniel Rchichev, Kristína Svarinská, Comedy, Romance

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Shy student of astrophysics Marek falls in love with Stephanie, the Slovak-speaking daughter of the French attaché. As the result of an initiative by his three flatmates, his father starts advising him, although they had not been seeing each other. Being the publisher of popular bestsellers about conquering the other sex, the father compiles ten rules for his son to help him win the girl’s heart. That includes, among others, getting rid of a rival, a rich whippersnapper constantly surrounded by a host of his ex-girlfriends. Marek finally understands that what works is not horoscopes and chat-up lines, but being himself…

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Cutting it Short / Postriziny (1981) Jirí Menzel, Magda Vásáryová, Jirí Schmitzer, Jaromír Hanzlík, Comedy

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Short Cut is a comedy revealed more in the acting and witty dialogue than in the simple premise of the story itself: how the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal was born. Actually, the story is, in many ways, the writer’s conception. The setting is a small town where Hrabal’s father Francine (Jiri Schmitzer) is in charge of a large brewery. Both the blessing and bane of his life is his gorgeous wife Marja (Magda Vasaryova). Blessing, because she is not only beautiful but resourceful and intelligent and lively, bane because every other man would like to get to know her better. Marja saves the day more than once, and the couple are happy in their life together. When Francine’s brother arrives for a visit, an attraction starts to develop between Marja and her brother-in-law that may have upset the marriage, were it not for a fortuitous accident. Marja sprains her ankle and her husband is “forced” to take care of her – alone. Soon after, the town gets their first radio and life takes a permanent turn for a faster lane. Marja cuts her long, blonde tresses and dons a short skirt which mortifies her husband, until he learns they are going to have a baby. It is 1916 and Hrabal is on the way. The comedy will one day continue as he goes from gestation to adulthood and discovers his writing talents at the age of 48. Coupled with the Czech director Jiri Menzel, Hrabal’s comedic writing finds a kindred cinematic spirit. This film won a Jury Prize at the 1981 Venice Film Festival.

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Romeo, Juliet and Darkness / Romeo, Julie a tma (1960) Jirí Weiss, Ivan Mistrík, Daniela Smutná, Jirina Sejbalová, Drama, War

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Pavel, a young student living in Prague in 1942, hides a Jewish girl in his apartment building’s attic. Amidst the brutality of the occupying German army, love blossoms between the two. He is her only link to the outside world. Then the two are discovered by Pavel’s mother, who forces the residents of the apartment building to decide whether Hana can remain.

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A Little Piece of Heaven / Kousek nebe (2005) Petr Nikolaev, Jakub Doubrava, Tatiana Pauhofová, Petr Forman, Romance

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There is no place on the world where might not find love. A love story – a fleeting encounter between two young people who met at the wrong time at the wrong place. The story takes place in the 1950s in a communist prison compound in Czechoslovakia. Luboš, the hero of the film, happens to meet Dana and he falls in love with her. Dana reciprocates his feelings and their love affair is all the more breathtaking the more impossible it becomes for it to be fulfilled in this setting. Luboš’s imprisonment is further embittered by the physical and mental torture inflicted on him by the warden who cannot forget that the young man had witnessed his humiliation. To get him out of the sight of this sadistic jailer, Luboš’s prison mates manage to get him transferred into a squad of roofers. Thanks to his friends, the boy’s prison stay becomes a little more bearable in spite of the cruelty he must suffer. Despite the horrendously limiting circumstances, the ever-present persecution and death, thanks to his fellow prisoners the lovers are able to consummate their love at least once…

This story is more than a political statement. It is primarily a love story that shows how love and youth find their own way to fulfillment, however dramatic the circumstances.

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Cekání na dést / Waiting for the Rain (1978) Karel Kachyna, Jirí Bartoska, Michal Hofbauer, Monika Hálová, Drama, Romance

Cekani na dest (Karel Kachyna, 1978)
Twelve-year-old Alena (Dita Kaplanová) has had to leave the countryside on a blazing hot summer day and come back home to a block of flats on the outskirts of Prague. She spends most of the day on her own, amusing herself daydreaming and imagining, on the blazing hot building roof awaiting the rain. Her mother (Ladislava Kozderková) is at work all day and her friends are still away on holidays. Alena is keen on the actor Budil (Jirí Bartoska) and puts on her best clothes for him each day, running out onto the street carrying her mother’s handbag.

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Slumming (2006) Michael Glawogger, Paulus Manker, August Diehl, Michael Ostrowski, Comedy, Drama

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Rich slacker Sebastian has little respect for others, especially not women. Riding on his good looks and charm, he easily manipulates people, like his flatmate Alex. He enjoys playing with others; sometimes casually, sometimes cruelly, changing their lives.

Sebastian’s favorite sport is slumming in Vienna’s seedy bars and cafés in search of quirky characters to toy with. He also likes surfing for young women over the internet, seducing them with elaborate stories of truth, half-truth and lies. Grade school teacher Pia is his latest conquest. Or maybe this wallflower who talks too much when she’s nervous has actually conquered him?

Their romance is jeopardized when Pia becomes angry about Sebastian’s latest act of flippant cruelty: just for fun, he and Alex picked up an unconscious drunk off the street and drove him to the Czech Republic, where they dumped him without any ID.

Pia decides to rescue this man, Kallman, a down and out poet whose drinking binges usually result in ranting and raving and aggressive attempts to sell his poems on the street. Little does he know, he’s about to have a moment of sudden revelation, lost and alone in the wintry Czech wildnerness…

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