Instructor: Martin Votruba
Days, Time, Place:Tuesdays 2:30-520, 352 CL
Office hours: W & TH 4-5
|Part I: CENTRAL EUROPE THROUGH FILM - THE PAST 5O YEARS|
| WORLD WAR II|
SK (CZ) - The Shop on Main Street (1965)
The first Slovak film to receive an Oscar; a burning topic of guilt, complicity, and helplessness.
PL - Camouflage (1977)A contemporary version of medieval discourse on ethics, accompanied by a characteristic East-Central European theme of 'the idealized West meets the "mysterious East;"'
| SOVIET INVASIONS AND INTERVENTIONS|
US (CZ/SK) - The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
A film based on an acclaimed Czech novel: contrast American and Central European filmmaking; the options between political and sexual freedom or restrictions intertwine; emphasis on visual appeal.
H - Love Film (1970)
An early film by a director, who went on to reach international recognition; politically sensitive topics buried under highly personal filmmaking - 'beyond the flashback:' associative rather than temporal sequencing; "the East and West shall never meet:" plausible, or mandated conclusion?
| COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM|
CZ (SK) - Kolya (1996)
A quirky Czech thespian goes Hollywood: comedy and emotional commitment; a plot designed to please; contemporary filmmaking; Central European handling of love
|1h 45'||Part II: HOW THE FILMMAKERS COPED|
|THE NON-POLITICAL REVOLUTION|
SK - The Sun in a Net (1962)
Ranked as one of the 10 best films in the history of Czechoslovak filmmaking; the truth and lies through the experiences of urban teenagers; a forerunner of the 'Czech New Wave;' Communist officials threatened by overload of symbolism.
|RELAX AND EXPERIMENT|
CZ - Daisies (1966); Dudes and the Hops (1964)
It is considered one of the most innovative experiments in world cinema; is there really a morality play under all the razzle-dazzle, as the director claims?
|ORDINARY LIVES OR ALLEGORIES?|
CZ - Loves of a Blond (1965); Firemen's Ball (1968)
Early films by a director who was showered with Oscars, after he defected to Hollywood; mating habits of the adolescent working class; use of non-actors; pseudo-documentary techniques; incompetence in charge spells fun and cruelty; a film with no starring roles.
CZ - Closely Watched Trains (1966)
SK - Birds, Orphans and Fools (1969)
|TURNING TO HISTORY|
SK - A Thousand-Year-Old Bee (1983)
The most popular domestic Slovak film ever - unexpectedly, from an acclaimed director usually leaning towards art-house films; a panorama of life of three generations around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
|COMEDY AND REALISM|
SK - She Grazed Horses on Concrete (1982)
The leading actress also wrote the screenplay, based on her own novel; one of the most popular films in Slovakia; a single mother fends for herself and her teenage daughter; all starring roles are female; first use of dialect; first discussion of abortion; handling of violence in film under Communism.
|AN ESOTERIC ROMANCE?|
SK - Rosy Dreams (1976)
The first Central and East European feature film aiming at a realistic - rather than romanticized - portrayal of the Roma (Gypsies). A Romany girl and a Slovak boy fall in love based on their fantasies about the "others'" lives.
|SCI-FI AND POLITICS|
PL - Sexmission (1984)
The film has remained unsurpassed in Polish domestic ticket sales since its release, and was enormously popular in other Central European Communist countries; two male astronauts land in a world of women; expectations of Central European audiences; comparison with Hollywood science fiction; anti-feminist, or anti-authoritarian?
|NO CENSORS, NO MONEY|
SK - Paper Heads (1996)
A director allowed to survive in the margins under Communism looks back after its collapse, and calls his film a documentary; what qualifies as a documentary?