Sokol Spirit’s 3rd Friday of the Month CZECH FILM SERIES

(English subtitles)


Screenings Begin at 7pm

$5 donation includes free first pilsner, pop or soda


SPECIAL THEME for 2018-2019: We will recognize the 50th anniversary of "the Prague Spring" (1968) a brief period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II; the Warsaw Pact invasion; and the phenomenon of the "Czech New Wave" or "Golden Era of Film". The Czechoslovak New Wave was a movement in cinema beginning in 1963 and lasting until the end of the Prague Spring reforms of 1968. We will feature key films from the period by the most prominent film makers of the era. Every showing is introduced by our head Czech language instructor, Pavlina Reicholova with questions at the conclusion! Film analysis handouts at each show.



SEPTEMBER 21, BURNING BUSH, Part 1 and 2.  Done by Europe HBO in 2013, (151 minutes), PG for violence; in color (some news events in B/W). It portrays actual facts that happened 5 months after the collapse of the Czech government by Russia when the shocking act of a student of the Charles University's Faculty of Arts, was to protest of the Soviet occupation, set himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square on January 16, 1969, and died four days later. Through the story of defense attorney Dagmar Buresova, who defended Palach's legacy in a doomed lawsuit, the film examines the transformations taking place in Czechoslovak society.


OCTOBER 19, BURNING BUSH, Part 3 (77 minutes) and discussion of events portrayed in the miniseries…the Prague Spring..a pivotal time in the Czechoslovakian history.


NOVEMBER 16, LOVES OF A BLONDE, 1965, 88 minutes, B/W, R-Nudity.  First Oscar nominated film which was directed/written by Czech New Wave Milos Forman. 15 minute interview with him. The film takes place in the provincial Czech town, Zruc, and dances along the thin line between dreams and disillusionment, as sympathetic to its heroine’s aspirations, as it is certain that they can never be fully achieved. Forman passed in April, 2018.


DECEMBER 21, ALL MY GOOD COUNTRYMEN, 1968, 114 minutes, B/W, PG-Nudity.  Directed/Written by Czech New Wave Vojtech Jasny; 15 minutes interview with him. It follows seven friends in a little Moravian village as they cope with the socialization of their homeland. At the heart of their story is Frantisek (Radoslav Brzobohatý), whose resistance to the change defines his life.



JANUARY 18, FIREMAN’S BALL, 1967, 97 minutes, G. Oscar nominated film which was directed/written by Milos Forman. Famous Italian producer Carlo Ponti put money into it so it could be shot in color and then pulled out after threats by the Czech regime. Follows a provincial volunteer fire department as they organize some fun activities for their ball.  The ball gradually becomes more and more ridiculous; the beauty contest becomes a farce, the mothers protest about the ball committee, the fathers drink, and the daughters act embarrassed. Extras were from the Krkonose (highest) mountain village of Vrchlabi, NE of Prague where Forman wrote the script after attending a fireman’s ball in the region.


FEBRUARY 15, THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET, 1964, 125 Minutes, B/W, PG-13-Violence. Winner of the 1965 Oscar for best foreign film, it was directed by Jan Kadar/Elmar Klos, Writer Ladislav Grosman ALL Czech New Wave. In 1942, Tono (Tony) and his wife are struggling because of his antipathy towards the fascist regime.  His brother-in-law, the local fuehrer, chooses Tono to oversee a button shop owned by a sweet, harmless Jewish widow, Mrs. Lautman. Unable to explain his position to Mrs. Lautman, Tono gradually accepts her belief that he is her assistant.  When the Jews are ordered deported, the well-meaning Tono decides to shield her from the Nazis. Based on the novel by Grosman. Filmed in Prague.


MARCH 15, THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR, 1964, 100 minutes, B/W, PG-13-Violence. 17 minute commentary by Andrew Norton giving a film retrospect. Directed by Czech New Wave Zbynek Brynych  A nearly perfect film-Roger Ebert. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse written about in the The Bible’s, Book of Revelation. Set in Prague during the Nazi occupation, the film follows Dr. Braun, a Jewish doctor forbidden to practice medicine who instead works for Nazi officials cataloging confiscated Jewish property. All Braun wants to do is survive, but his pragmatic mentality is challenged when an injured resistance fighter stumbles into his apartment building. A quest for morphine leads Dr. Braun through his tortured city, where fear eats away at the social structure. Filmed in Prague.


APRIL 21, CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS, 1966, 93 minutes, B/W, R-Violence/Nudity. ALL Czech New Wave-Director Jiri Menzel; Written by Jiri Menzel & Bohumil Hrabal from the novel by Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997). Filming location: Lodenice (Central Bohemia), Czechoslovakia. Germany is losing at all her fronts at the end of the Second World War. Young Miloš Hrma is engaged as an unpaid employee in a small railway station. The stationmaster, an enthusiastic pigeon-breeder, has a kind wife, but is envious of the train dispatcher Hubička's success with women. Miloš holds a platonic love for young conductor Máša (woman). The experienced Hubička tries to explain to him the "matters of love" and discovers that Miloš is a virgin.  The idyll of the railway station is disturbed by the arrival of the councillor, Zednicek, a Nazi supporter. Máša spends the night with Miloš, but he finds no success and, the next day, he attempts suicide.


MAY 17, BLACK PETER, 1963, 86 minutes, B/W, PG13-nudity. Directed by Milos Forman This coming-of-age story about a shy teenager who falls in love, bears the heavy influence of Francois Truffaut, as do most other "new wave" productions of the era. Milos Forman won first prize at the Locarno film festival for his first feature film, Black Peter.  This coming of age story about a shy teenager who falls in love, bears the heavy influence of Francois Truffaut, as do most other "new wave" productions of the era. Even at this early stage, however, Forman's film-making prowess enabled him to transcend any and all imitations. In some areas, the film bore the title Peter and Pavla, reflecting the fact that pretty young Pavla Martinkova played the girl. The film is based on a novel by Forman’s close friend Jaroslav Papousek.  Filmed in Prague.


JUNE 21, CAPRICIOUS SUMMER, 1967, 75 minutes, G. ALL CZECH NEW WAVE-Director Jiri Menzel; based on the novel Rozmarné Léto (Summer of Caprice) by the Czech writer Vladislav Vančura. It was listed to compete at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, but the festival was cancelled due to the events of May, 1968 in France. The film depicts a humorous story of three men, a colonel, a priest and a bath-keeper, during rainy summer days down at the beach house on a small river when some circus performers show up. Filmed in the Prague countryside.







Sponsor: Foreign Language Committee of Sokol Spirit





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