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The Czech New Wave of the mid-1960s encompassed a variety of revolutionary styles that influenced directors around the world. Of all the cinematic New Waves, the one in Czechoslovakia was the most fruitful, and most radical. Born of dissent against the Communist regime, the films often sublimate their critiques in absurdity, humor, and pathos. The brief Prague Spring of early 1968 allowed for more direct commentary, but the invasion by the Soviets in August 1968 and the subsequent implementation of the Warsaw Pact curtailed freedom of speech, heightened censorship, and forced the emigration of some key directors. All of the films in this series were banned by the Soviet-controlled government in Prague, and most were not seen again until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Complements the exhibition Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful.

This film series is intended for teen and adult audiences.


The Ear
Saturday, December 6, 2014
4:00 p.m.

Directed by Karel Kachyňa
(1970, 94 minutes, English subtitles)

The Ear Karel Kachyňa was one of the few directors who stayed in Czechoslovakia after the implementation of the Warsaw Pact. Following The Ear (which was banned immediately), he was banned make anything controversial. The Ear was finally released in 1989, and is a fascinating criticism of the contemporary totalitarian regime, filmed at a moment when the country was in the grip of the Soviet Union. This is a directly confrontational film, without parody, and it is one of the most compelling political films of all time.

Oratorio For Prague
Saturday, December 6, 2014
7:00 p.m.

Directed by Jan Neměc
(1968, 26 minutes, English subtitles, DigiBeta)

Along with Koudelka's photographs, this short film by Neměc is one of the few documents of the Soviet Invasion in August, 1968. Originally planning to film the joyous freedom engendered by Slovak reformer Alexander Dubček, Neměc was in Prague as the first Soviet tanks rolled in to "help" a fellow socialist state.


A Report on the Party and Its Guests
Saturday, December 6, 2014
7:30 p.m.

Directed by Jan Neměc
(1966, 70 minutes, English subtitles)

Banned immediately in 1966, released briefly in 1968, then banned again for 20 years, Neměc's parody of oppression and conformity seems to mix the photojournalism of Cartier-Bresson (one of Koudelka's influences) with the surrealism of Buñuel, into his own contemporary Czech experience.

The Joke
Sunday, December 7, 2014
2:00 p.m.

Directed by Jaromil Jireš
(1969, 81 minutes, English subtitles)

Considered one of the last great films of the Czech New Wave and made after the Soviet invasion, the plot concerns a young man who is expelled from the Communist Party because of a joke and his subsequent need, 20 years later, for revenge against the good friend who betrayed him.


Sunday, December 7, 2014
4:00 p.m.

Directed by Vera Chytilová
(1966, 76 minutes, English subtitles, 35mm)

One of the New Wave's most anarchic films, Daisies is also considered a touchstone of feminist film; these traits made the Communist government sense danger and it was immediately banned. By far the most dazzlingly experimental film of this period, the surrealism achieved by Daisies' collage and optical effects is matched in absurdity only by the mischevious and satirical behavior of its two irreverent heroines. Presented with an introduction by Los Angeles artist Jennifer West.

Unless otherwise noted all films will be shown in DVD.

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