A factory manager in rural Czechoslovakia bargains with the army to send men to the area, to boost the morale of his young female workers, deprived of male company since the local boys have... See full summary »
The volunteer fire department in a small town is having a big party when the ex-boss of the department celebrates his 86th birthday. The whole town is invited but things don't go as planned... See full summary »
Two closely related episodes. Youths make problems for two local orchestras about to compete nationally, and in a talent competition a young girl gets stage fright, while another lies to her boss to compete.
Unable to deal with her parents, Jeannie Tyne runs away from home. Larry and Lyne Tyne search for her, and in the process meet other people whose children ran away. With their children gone... See full summary »
One of the most important images of the Czech New Wave 60s, which was ranked among the top ten domestic films of all time. Feature debut screenwriter and director Ivan Passer is currently ... See full summary »
Set in Baroque France, a scheming widow and her lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman. The lover, Valmont, bets that he can seduce her, even though she is an... See full summary »
Middle-aged Antonin and his friends, the major, now retired, and the canon, are in the river, swimming and philosophizing. Then it starts to rain. It just seems to be that sort of summer. ... See full summary »
Diamonds in the night is the tense, brutal story of two Jewish boys who escape from a train transporting them from one concentration camp to another. Ultimately, they are hunted down by a ... See full summary »
Petr is 17 years old and starts work. Incredibly (for Czechoslovakia in 1963) this is as a security worker against shoplifting in a busy self-service shop. His boss gives him pretty basic instructions, and Petr is pretty unsuccessful at work. He doesn't do much better at the dancehall either, and at home his bombastic father lectures him about how useless he is. Written by
Hazel Freeman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This brought to mind CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS, another early Czech New Wave film about a teenage apprentice who's none too excited about his work. Both are coming-of-age comedies with some moments of awkward teen romance. This film (Forman's first feature) actually predates Menzel's, and has more of a freeform, anecdotal structure. Although not explicitly a commentary on Communism, Petr's distaste for spying on customers clearly has some political implications. The film has a gentle, naturalistic pace with scenes that have a nice attention to detail. Ladislav Jakim struck me as a fine young actor, and I liked how the rival boy gradually developed into a more sympathetic character (particularly during the dance scene, which was my favorite part of the movie). Jan Vostrcil, the wonderful lead in Firemen's Ball, perhaps lays it on a little thick as the overbearing father, but it's a somewhat humorous performance. Although the comedy is quite mellow and subdued, there are a few laugh out loud moments. Unfortunately, the Facets DVD sports an ugly transfer, and woefully incomplete subtitles. Entire swaths of dialogue went by without translation.
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