Pearls of the Czech New Wave

Of all the cinematic New Waves that broke over the world in the 1960s, the one in Czechoslovakia was among the most fruitful, fascinating, and radical. With a wicked sense of humor and a healthy streak of surrealism, a group of fearless directors—including eventual Oscar winners Miloš Forman and Ján Kadár—began to use film to speak out about the hypocrisy and absurdity of the Communist state. A defining work was the 1966 omnibus film Pearls of the Deep, which introduced five of the movement’s essential voices: Věra Chytilová, Jaromil Jireš, Jiří Menzel, Jan Němec, and Evald Schorm. This mini-season presents that title, along with five other crucial works that followed close on its heels, one from each of those filmmakers — some dazzlingly experimental, some arrestingly realistic, all singular expressions from a remarkable time and place.

Pearls of the Deep / Perlicky na dne

Jiří Menzel, Věra Chytilová, Jaromil Jireš, Jan Nemec, Evald Schorm | Czechoslovakia 1966 | 105 minutes

A manifesto of sorts for the Czech New Wave, this five-part anthology shows off the breadth of expression and the versatility of the movement’s directors.

Sunday 6th January 2013 4:30 PM

Daisies / Sedmikrásky

Věra Chytilová | Czechoslovakia | 1966 | 74 minutes

Daisies is an aesthetically and politically adventurous film that’s widely considered one of the great works of feminist cinema.

Sunday 13th January 2013 4:30 PM

A Report on the Party and Guests / O slavnosti a hostec

Jan Němec | Czechoslovakia | 1966 | 71 minutes

In Jan Němec’s surreal fable, a picnic is rudely transformed into a lesson in political hierarchy when a handful of mysterious authority figures show up.

Sunday 20th January 2013 4:30 PM

Return of the Prodigal Son / Návrat ztraceného syna

Evald Schorm | Czechoslovakia | 1967 | 98 minutes

This raw psychological drama about an engineer unable to adjust to the world around him following his suicide attempt is at heart a scathing portrait of social alienation and moral compromise.

Sunday 27th January 2013 4:30 PM

Capricious Summer / Rozmarné léto

Jiří Menzel | Czechoslovakia | 1968 | 74 minutes

Two years after his worldwide hit Closely Watched Trains, Jiří Menzel directed this amusing idyll about three middle-aged men whose mellow summer is interrupted by the arrival of a circus performer and his beautiful assistant.

Sunday 3rd February 2013 4:30 PM

The Joke / Zert

Jaromil Jireš | Czechoslovakia | 1969 80 minutes

Jaromil Jireš’s brilliant adaptation of Milan Kundera’s novel tells the fragmentary tale of a man expelled from the Communist Party because of a political joke.

Sunday 10th February 2013 4:30 PM