Apr 7, 2015 7:00 PM
All My Good Compatriots
TUESDAY FILM CLUB. ALL MY COMPATRIOTS (Všichni dobří rodáci), dir. Vojtěch Jasný, 1968, 115 min.
ALL MY COMPATRIOTS (Všichni dobří rodáci), dir. Vojtěch Jasný, 1968, 115 min., English subtitles
Called the spiritual father of the Czech New Wave by Milos Forman, Vojtěch Jasný, whose father died at Auschwitz and who participated in the anti-Nazi resistance, began as a true believer in Communism. Vsichni dobrí rodáci is the rich product of his disillusionment. A tapestry of the interwoven lives of Moravian villagers based on actual persons Jasný knew from his own small village, it was one of the last Czech films to be made prior to the 1968 Soviet invasion, after which it was promptly banned.
The film covers postwar life in a small village beginning in summer 1945. The opening movement, set prior to the advent of Communism, is a good-humored idyll, executed charmingly and with restrained lyricism. The second movement, in spring 1948, announces the changeover—literally, by an official voice over a loudspeaker! Some of the characters who were introduced in the first part are now reintroduced as members of Party officialdom. (Others leave.) But one image encapsulates the shift to collectivization and Party constraint: a white horse galloping every which way across the snow-clad earth, seemingly in frantic search for evaporated freedom.
The young postal carrier is killed by a bullet meant for another Communist; the village priest is arrested. A man slips ever deeper into drunkenness, haunted by the ghost of his wife, whom he divorced during the war because she was Jewish, thereby sending her to her death. Dogs and geese at a barnyard standstill symbolize the unhappy village. A dream of death becomes real: a man is buried by an avalanche of goose feathers in a field.
One man, František, emerges as the leading opponent of the new order. The gorgeous seasons, communal celebrations full of song and dance—life itself fortifies this opposition. Oh, and the collective farm fails. ~Dennis Grunes
Czech director Vojtèch Jasný's films are noted for their fresh approach and concern for society. Born in Moravia, Jasný loved films from an early age and after spending most of WW II in a Nazi labor camp, he became one of the first to graduate from the Prague film school where he got his start directing short documentaries.
In 1954, Vojtěch Jasný and classmate Karel Kachyňa directed Dnes večer všechno skončí/Everything Ends Tonight. He then embarked upon a distinguished solo career with September Nights (1957), a key work in Czech New Wave cinema. Jasný became world famous the following year with his poetic feature Touha/Desire, but his best-known work is the Cannes' Special Jury Prize-winning satirical fairy tale Až přijde kocour/The Cassandra Cat (1963). In 1968, he again won a prize at Cannes for Všichhi dobří rodáci (All My Compatriots) , another satire on life in a small Czech town. In 1969, just after the Soviets took over his country, Jasný made the powerful short film Ceska Rapsodie/Czech Rhapsody as a farewell to his country. He then left to continue making films elsewhere, none of which have earned the critical acclaim of his first films. In addition to filmmaking, Jasný taught film courses in various European schools, and in 1984, he became a film lecturer at Columbia University. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
Lest We Forget.
Memory of Totalitarianism in Europe.
A READER FOR OLDER SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS ANYWHERE IN EUROPE
Edited by Gillian Purves
illustrated collection of 30 remarkable life
stories of people affected by totalitarianism from 16 European countries,
containing photographs and facsimiles of documents. DVD with additional
materials (films, e-book, etc.) enclosed. Contributions by 23 public and
nongovernmental institutions, organisations, museums and memorials dealing with
the totalitarian past of Europe, associated in the Platform of European Memory
and Conscience. Preface by French historian Stéphane Courtois, the author of
the Black Book of Communism.
The purpose of the reader is to educate today`s young generation about Europe`s tragic totalitarian past and about the importance of upholding fundamental human rights, freedoms and democratic values in society. The goal is to promote a better understanding and integration among European citizens and to help prevent the recurrence of any form of non-democratic rule in the future.
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Apr 7, 2015 7:00 PM