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Mar 26, 2020 7:00 PM

*** POSTPONED *** A Tribute to Ivan Passer: A Boring Afternoon & Intimate Lighting

Tribute to the recently deceased director Ivan Passer. The film anecdote A Boring Afternoon from 1964, based on a story by Bohumil Hrabal, captures an ordinary, truly dull Sunday afternoon in a suburban pub. The film was screened in the XIV competition. International Film Week in Mannheim in 1965 and won the Golden Ducat in the short films category. Intimate Lighting is the only feature film by Ivan Passer of the Czechoslovak New Wave of the 1960s. The film was digitally restored in 2016.

March 26, 7PM
In the Cinema



Director: Ivan Passer, 1964, 14 min, Czechoslovakia
Introductory remarks by Irena Kovarova.

A film anecdote about pub and football based on a story by Bohumil Hrabal.
The directorial debut of Forman's colleague Ivan Passer from 1964, based on a short story by Bohumil Hrabal, was intended for the Hrabal's short-story movie Pearls of the Deep. In the distribution, however, was shown as a separate short film. 

It captures an ordinary, truly dull Sunday afternoon in a suburban pub, at a time when most pub regulars have gone to cheer for their team at a football stadium. While a few old men are wise about football, an unknown young man provokes a publican by ignoring nothing and eagerly reading a book. And the elegant lady who walks in front of the pub waiting for someone may turn out to be Death itself…

The film was screened in the competition of  the XIV. International Film Week in Mannheim in 1965 and won the Golden Ducat in the short films category.

Director: Ivan Passer, 1965, 71 min, Czechoslovakia

One of the important films of the so-called Czechoslovak New Wave of the 1960s, which was ranked among the ten best domestic films of all time. At the same time, Ivan Passer's feature debut and director's debut is his only feature film in Czechoslovakia at that time. In this peculiar sad comedy two schoolmates meet in a small town after ten years: one is a member of a regional symphony orchestra, the other dragged it to the director of a city music school, building a family house and playing at funerals. The film was digitally restored in 2016.

About Ivan Passer

Ivan Passer was one of the key authors of the "new wave" of Czechoslovak cinema, a group of young people who forged an energetic and transgressive film movement in the 1960s, breaking away from the precepts of hard socialist realism. Passer was not only the author of the scenarios of his own films, but he also worked on the scripts of the first four motion pictures made by his countryman, friend and colleague Miloš Forman: Audition (1963), Black Peter (1964), Loves of a Blonde (1965) and The Firemen's Ball (1967).

The grandson of a silent movie screenwriter and son of a Jewish couple persecuted by the Nazis, Ivan was a rebel boy, sent to a boarding school where he became friends with Miloš. Together they went to study cinema at the FAMU film school in Prague, but young Ivan was eventually expelled from the academy. By then he had acquired skills in movie-making, some experience and had key friends, such as cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček. With Forman and other friends, they made their first movies.

In 1965 Passer made a remarkable first feature, the beautiful Intimate Lighting, a film of impressionist inspiration that immediately established his name as a promising new director. During World War II he had been directly exposed to violence, and he believed that it was dangerous to represent it in films: violence, he said, affects "some people who are not able to realize the difference between reality and fantasy."

However, he made some worthy movies, such as his American debut Born to Win (1971), a complex portrait of a heroin-addict hairdresser; his satire on civil surveillance, Law and Disorder (1974); the comedy about money-laundering bankers Silver Bears (1977), and the cult film Cutter's Way (1981), in which a war veteran investigates a crime, despite he only has one eye, one arm and one leg. For television he directed the biopic Stalin in 1992.

Passer taught film at the University of Southern California, and lectured students in foreign film academies. He died in Reno, Nevada, on January 9th, 2020.



Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Mar 26, 2020 7:00 PM


Czech Centre

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