In the 1950's, Ludvik Jahn was expelled from the Communist Party and the University by his fellow students, because of a politically incorrect note he sent to his girlfriend. Fifteen years ... See full summary »
Inspired by fairy-tales such as Alice in Wonderland and Little Red-Riding Hood, "Valerie and her Week of Wonders" is a surreal tale in which love, fear, sex and religion merge into one fantastic world.
Two stories are simultaneously told. One dutiful mother progressively becomes a frustrated woman who is the only one assuming the family responsibilities of working at home and looking ... See full summary »
An old man is wandering round a badly signposted and as yet mostly under construction Prague housing estate looking for the high rise block into which he is supposed to be moving with his ... See full summary »
Set against the backdrop of a repressed Czechoslovakia, five non-related vignettes are presented, each showcasing the need and want for human connection. In "Mr. Baltazar's Death", a middle... See full summary »
In the garden of a pension, Eva and her husband Josef are enjoying a siesta. Here, they meet with the lonesome, mysterious-looking Robert. During play, a key falls out of Robert's pocket. The curious Eva picks it up and sets off on an expedition. In Robert's room, she finds a briefcase soiled with mud, which Robert had forgotten by her parsley patch before, and in it, a date-stamp. Soon afterwards, she learns that another victim of an unknown murderer of women has been found, with a number and date stamped on her forehead. Eva concludes that the murderer must be Robert. Written by
Vera Chytilova's Fruit Of Paradise, is a lost masterpiece of a film. Lost because Chytilova was not permitted to make any films for decades, after her first film Daisies(another gem), was censored and banned by the Soviet/Czech government. These films show us a new language in cinema, that never got to develop. Her use of sound alone in this film puts her on par with Godard and Leone, her use of color is unlike anything I have ever seen(the first 10 minutes in Eden are a luminous collage of images, patterns, and live actors), and her sense of story(arguably her least accessible trait) is like Bunuel or Svankmajor(her fellow Czech), albeit with a distinctly feminist, whimsicle, slapstick bent.
The story is an allegory of Adam and Eve, in a modern(made in 60's) Health Retreat. The action involves our heroin wandering the grounds where she becomes obsessed with a mysterious man in red, who may or may not be a killer. What follows is a fragmented story of awakening, it's pains and pleasures, but don't look more literally than that, like Lynch's Inland Empire, it's best to view this film topologically(on the surface), as an aesthetic object like a painting, rather than a cinematic tool for conveying a "message". Not that you cant or shouldn't get anything more out of this film, than a lesson in the expansive possibilities of film-making itself, but you get out of it, what you put into it. If you want to just watch the pretty colors, it's got that, if you want to argue about "ontological freedom and meaning", you could use this film as a trampoline, but that role rests here on the viewer.
Chytilova's film's however cannot be accurately described by text, they have to be viewed, listened to puzzled over, drank with(a glass or two of wine), and then viewed again. If your looking for a novel experience in a sea of modern cinematic redundancy, the Fruit Of Paradise, is the food for you. If you want to watch realistic characters, exchange in pseudo-naturalistic dialoge about modern issues of social import, "Crash" can be found at your local blockbuster, if you've watched Maya Deren, Luis Bunuel, or Kenneth Anger, and said, why can't there be more films like this; then Netflix, steal, beg, borrow,(or try your local library), but find this film. That goes double for Chytilova's first film Daisies, which is as adventurous as this, but is more slapstick to this films baroque; basically a lot more fun.
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