The rise and fall of an aristocratic Prague family is the focus of this fine example of filmmaking in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi Occupation. A mill owner who hopes to arrange a marriage...
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Andrés Pulac, a young pianist, refuses to perform a concert in honor of a senior Soviet leader, as a sign of rebellion against the 1956 invasion of Hungary. His refusal, although he does ... See full summary »
María Rosa Salgado,
The rise and fall of an aristocratic Prague family is the focus of this fine example of filmmaking in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi Occupation. A mill owner who hopes to arrange a marriage between his daughter and a wealthy American of Czech origin invests all his money in turbines to power his mill.Written by
Fascinating production tries to cram too much story into 85 minutes
Film Export Home Video and the National Film Archive in Prague have released a large number of DVDs of classic Czech films over the last few years, many of them with excellent English language subtitles available from the "titulky" menu.
I found "Turbina" on a double-bill disk with another production made during WWII, "Divka v modrem" (Girl in Blue).
This must have received a huge budget for its day. The story is based on a famous 1916 novel about an upper middle class Czech family growing apart at the turn of the 20th century. The father has a waterworks company that is building a modern water-powered electrical turbine, that he hopes will help to modernize the entire town, and make him a fortune. He has three grown children, ready to leave the nest: his favorite daughter, who hopes to become an opera singer, his younger daughter, who seeks a medical degree, and his son who appears to have no ambition at all. There is also the rich, bitter, and eccentric uncle, who lives in the old tower next to the waterworks, and fears that the new construction will damage his Gothic home. Each is due for reward or comeuppance, depending upon their dreams.
All these stories play out in a very brief 85 minutes. Not nearly enough to do them justice, and the film suffers significantly because it pares each tale down almost to bullet points. Nevertheless, there is enough of interest here: some excellent scenes (including one that will remind you of Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead") as well as some wonderful production design and photography, to make it more than worth your while, if you happen to be lucky enough to find a copy.
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