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Program

May 25, 2019 - May 29, 2019

All My Compatriots - Ester Krumbachová: Unknown Master of the Czechoslovak New Wave

Czech Center New York and Film Society of Lincoln Center present the work of the Czech costume and set designer, scriptwriter, and director Ester Krumbachová.

 

Saturday, May 25, 2:30PM
Wednesday, May 29, 8:45PM
Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center
Tickets coming in May

ALL MY COMPATRIOTS
Costume design by Ester Krumbachová
Director: Vojtěch Jasný, 1968, 115 min, Czechoslovakia

All My Compatriots is considered to be one of the greatest of all Czechoslovak films. However, soon after its July 1969 premiere, the film, from writer-director Vojtěch Jasný, found itself on the list of banned works. In 1970, Jasný emigrated and continued his filmmaking career in Germany. But Vojtěch Jasný ultimately returned to Czech film via Which Side Eden (1999), which serves as a loose sequel to All My Compatriots. These two movies are viewed as the highpoints of Jasný’s directorial career. Jasný’s 1968 effort won him a Best Director award at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. All My Compatriots was also awarded the Technical Grand Prize – Special Mention at this same festival in recognition of the excellent colour cinematography of Jaroslav Kučera. Indeed, the camera essentially serves as an additional character in this film, which tells the story of several neighbours in a small Moravian village, whose sense of joyful solidarity is strongly disrupted by the advance of 1950s collectivisation policies. This poetic chronicle in which director Jasný drew inspiration from his native town of Kelč, also boasts tremendous costume design from Ester Krumbachová. Innovative experimentation with colours, contrasts and natural light infuses All My Compatriots with an unforgettable atmosphere: it is an archetypically “pleasant” film, whose visual beauty contrasts strongly with (and perhaps even masks) the painful events depicted in the story. Jasný’s film is filled with a poetic spirit, occasionally elevated to truly surrealistic moments, which are in perfect harmony with the film’s themes of love and death – and which touch most of the main characters of the film. While love pangs draw local postman and an attractive widow into an outwardly carefree existence, the efforts of the kleptomaniac neighbour Pyřk (Vladimír Menšík) to outsmart fate lead to his tragic death. And the free-living peasant Zášinek (Waldemar Matuška) is impaled by a bull after being riddled with guilt for causing the death of his Jewish wife during World War II. Farmer František (Radoslav Brzobohatý) draws attention to himself; tight-lipped, honest and stubborn, he represents an almost self-destructive love for his native soil. And it he is who becomes the embodiment of a moral imperative – which inevitably leads to his falling victim to the new communist regime, violently forcing these villagers to become dislocated from their land. Jasný’s evocation of a natural harmony between the land and those who till it ends up serving as a kind of alternative patriotic mythology with true pathos. (National Film Archive)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESTER KRUMBACHOVÁ

Though Ester Krumbachová was considered by director Věra Chytilová to be the boldest personality of the Czechoslovak New Wave, her contributions to the movement have been largely overlooked. A costume and set designer, scriptwriter, and director, the multi-hyphenate artist shared her puckishly surreal and trenchant, radical vision with such trailblazing directors as Chytilová (Daisies), Karel Kachyňa (The Ear), Jaromil Jireš (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders), and Jan Němec (Diamonds of the Night). But shortly after making her directorial debut with the hilarious yet criminally underseen fantasy The Murder of Mr. Devil, she was blacklisted by the Czechoslovak Communist government. This May, the Czech Center New York looks back on Krumbachová’s singular imprint on the Czechoslovak New Wave, and reexamines some of the movements’ most beloved, important works in a new light. Presented in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

OTHER FILMS IN THE SERIES

The Murder of Mr. Devil

Daisies

The Ear

Fruit of Paradise

Diamonds of the Night

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

The Fifth Horseman Is Fear

Coach to Vienna

Long Live the Republic!

 

Venue:

Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center

Date

From: May 25, 2019
To: May 29, 2019

Organizer:

Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event


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day(s) before the event