12 user 32 critic
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 »


Karel Kachyna


Karel Kachyna, Jan Procházka (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Údolí vcel (1968)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Ondrej, a young boy who loves bees and bats, is introduced to his new mother, a woman much younger than his father. He brings her a basketful of flowers which she starts to throw in the air... See full summary »

Director: Frantisek Vlácil
Stars: Petr Cepek, Jan Kacer, Vera Galatíková
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A small group of adult bourgeois friends are on a day outing in the country, that outing which includes having a picnic. While they are going for a walk after the picnic, they encounter a ... See full summary »

Director: Jan Nemec
Stars: Ivan Vyskocil, Jan Klusák, Jiri Nemec
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Set in World War II, a demented cremator believes cremation relieves earthly suffering and sets out to save the world.

Director: Juraj Herz
Stars: Rudolf Hrusínský, Vlasta Chramostová, Jana Stehnová
Witchhammer (1970)
Drama | History | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A very popular movie on the medieval persecution of witches (inquisition).

Director: Otakar Vávra
Stars: Vladimír Smeral, Elo Romancik, Josef Kemr
The Joke (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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 »

Director: Jaromil Jires
Stars: Josef Somr, Jana Dítetová, Ludek Munzar
Adelheid (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the aftermath of World War II, a former Czech soldier takes charge of a manor formerly owned by a German family. He falls in love with the daughter, who is now a maid, and is forced to ... See full summary »

Director: Frantisek Vlácil
Stars: Petr Cepek, Emma Cerná, Jan Vostrcil
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A grim portrayal of the shift from Paganism to Christianity in medieval Czechoslovakia - as a young virgin promised to God is kidnapped and raped by a marauder who her religious father seeks to kill in return.

Director: Frantisek Vlácil
Stars: Josef Kemr, Magda Vásáryová, Nada Hejna
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A WW2 story of a young Austrian soldier running from the Russian army and a woman whom he forces to come along in order to save his wounded mate.

Director: Karel Kachyna
Stars: Iva Janzurová, Jaromír Hanzlík, Ludek Munzar
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Pictures of the Old World is an unquestioned masterpiece of European documentary cinema, with existential radicalism that offers a contrast to the shallowness of hundreds of other ... See full synopsis »

Director: Dusan Hanák
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The story of High school in Czechoslovakia during occupation by Nazi Germany, where three students are arrested by Gestapo.

Director: Jirí Krejcík
Stars: Frantisek Smolík, Jana Brejchová, Ivan Mistrík
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A carpenter in the Nazi-occupied Slovak State is appointed "Aryan controller" of a Jewish widow's store.

Directors: Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos
Stars: Ida Kaminska, Jozef Kroner, Hana Slivková
Happy End (1967)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A dark comedy about a murder and its consequences presented in a backwards manner, where death is actually a rebirth. The film starts with an "execution" of the main protagonist and goes ... See full summary »

Director: Oldrich Lipský
Stars: Vladimír Mensík, Jaroslava Obermaierová, Josef Abrhám


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jirina Bohdalová ... Anna
Radoslav Brzobohatý ... Ludvik
Gustav Opocenský
Miroslav Holub
Lubor Tokos
Borivoj Navrátil ... Cejnar
Jirí Císler
Jaroslav Moucka
Karel Vasicek Karel Vasicek ... Poet
Ladislav Krivácek Ladislav Krivácek
Frantisek Nemec
Jan Teplý
Josef Sulc Josef Sulc ... Secret
Bronislav Poloczek
Alois Mottl Alois Mottl


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 Virginia Woolf'), and the resolution is _worse_ than being carted off to jail... Written by Stephen Simmonds <ssimmond@extro.ucc.su.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Thriller


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

1 June 1970 (Czechoslovakia) See more »

Also Known As:

La oreja See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although made in 1970, this didn't see major release until 1989. See more »


Featured in Bohdalka je nase! (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Choices of a lifetime hiding behind a chilling sketch of police state surveillance
20 October 2010 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

Husband and wife stagger tired and tipsy through their house at night holding candelabras. Something's not quite right, a basement door open ajar, keys where they shouldn't be, electricity and phone are out of order. A little earlier the movie opens with the couple back at their house after a 'party' gala. They fight and bicker on the pavement out of the car, then inside the house, like we're behind a closed door hearing echoes of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Flashbacks to the party earlier that night in subjective POV shots take us through a roomful of people dressed in suits holding up cocktail glasses ready to toast prominent Party figures, faces peering intently into the camera, huddling together to hide conspiratorial whispers or perhaps simple idle gossip. When the husband goes to the bathroom to freshen up, an old woman shows up to offer him a towel; in doing so, she disappears in the background and stays there, as though placed there to observe.

This is a great movie about paranoia, the "fear" of being watched and discussed, and it's a half good movie when it stops being about paranoia, because at some point we know the couple is being monitored by the Party and have had to live with bugs in their living room for years. In the famous finale of The Conversation, a maddened Gene Hackman tears through his apartment looking for bugs. His nightmare echoes through the years of cinema because it's a nightmare left incomplete, damnation through eternity. Here things become clear in the final act.

This is ambiguous psychodrama for as long as it suits the movie, then it becomes the political indictment it planned to be. It's stunning to me that a movie like this was allowed to be made in the Eastern Bloc of the 1970's. Usually filmmakers working in Soviet Union satellite republics spoke of Soviet tyranny indirectly. They used the Nazis to tell us about living through the oppression of a totalitarian regime. Here comrade Stalin is mentioned by name. As such, this is a brave movie that attacks contemporary things of a contemporary society.

The dimensions of this political thriller are most chilling for me in a particular scene: the husband asks the wife to remember earlier at the party if one particular guest was friendly to her and addressed her by her first name. He reasons that if he did so, if he recognized her in public in a friendly manner, that the husband is not under political scrutiny by his higher-ups, if that were the case everyone would keep their distance from even the wife. Social life in The Ear is not leisure time or exchange of ideas, it's an arena of suspicion and conspiracy, a chess game of ritualized behavior and expected moves.

Back home, behind closed doors, The Ear never sleeps. Under its scrutiny, married life becomes the forum of vented anger and frustration. As the married couple stagger through their household in the dark holding candelabras as though exploring the catacomb of a Gothic horror movie, their exchanges become increasingly unpleasant and hostile. There's one very grueling scene in the bathroom where the wife berates her husband for the choices of a lifetime. Yet in the important moments of life and death, when a man is about to take his own life or when they're coming to get him, they're close together in defiance of everything.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 12 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed