Husband (senior ministry official) and wife find their house is riddled with listening devices put there by his own ministry. A harrowing night follows (reminiscent of 'Who's Afraid Of ... 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 »
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 »
A selfish self-centered widowed ruler, barely tolerated by his subjects and called appropriately enough, 'King Myself, First' asks his three daughters to name the measure of their love for ... See full summary »
Twist of fate and the twists of mind of the characters (mostly couples) combine in just the right twinkled absurd way in the interweaving episodes of this comedy. Each of the characters ... See full summary »
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 »
Kopfrkingl enjoys his job at a crematorium in Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s. He likes reading the Tibetan book of the dead, and espouses the view that cremation relieves earthly ... See full summary »
A self-pitying but popular playwright drives to Vladimir to relax with a doting female student and another writer. He's convinced his writing is of no lasting value, but he still has an ego... 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 »
Czechoslovakia 1918. The newly formed National Assembly has made Stoklasa the administrator of the Kratochvile Castle. Although with no aristocratic background, he is a man of fortune and ... See full summary »
Prague in the early 1950's. Bourgeois elements are being re-educated by working in a scrapyard full of the detritus of industrial society. The volunteer workers comprise a professor of literature, a public prosecutor, a dairyman, a saxophonist, a barber, and a young cook. Also working in the yard are a number of female prisoners serving a year for trying to defect... A camera crew arrives with potted plants and other props. An idyllic scene is created; the prisoners star briefly in a pro-North Korean newsreel before going back to work... The volunteers are striking because the scrapyard work quotas have risen without consultation. A union rep arrives to persuade them otherwise... The guard for the female prisoners gets married but the gypsy musicians make a mess at his reception. The cook flirts with one of the pretty prisoners and finally proposes... Written by
Set in a scrap metal yard at the great Kladno steelworks, at the time of its making (just as the Prague Spring was being terminated by the Russians) this was seen as a satirical attack on the Communist regime, which got both film and director Jiří Menzel banned for several years (the film was not released until 1990). How such a gentle film could be seen as so subversive now seems incredible nearly 4 decades later.
Sorry, Liehtzu, but it couldn't possibly be better than the sublime "Closely Observed Trains"! Maybe this is because that film is so timeless, whereas "Larks on a String" seems to have dated less well; it is now more of a series of formless sketches of erotically charged comedy, in which the Czech spirit always manages to triumph over oppression and even the "villains" elicit a certain sympathy.
Even so it is a gem of a film, witty, quirky and subtle, in which a bunch of renegade intellectuals, sent literally to the scrapheap, put the world to rights and try to engage with the pretty girls working over the metal mountain.
The DVD available in the Czech Republic (R2) has rather unreliable English subtitles, so much of the biting dialogue is lost in translation; still a wonderful film though.
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