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Sep 23, 2017 - Sep 24, 2017

THE FIREMEN'S BALL - The Power of the Powerless

Five banned Czechoslovak films stand as testaments to the power of dissident art. Organized in collaboration with Film Society of Lincoln Center. 


Saturday, September 23, 4:00 pm

Sunday, September 24, 8:30 pm

Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center

Purchase Tickets


Director: Milos Forman, 1967, 73 min, Czechoslovakia

Ever use humor to poke fun at something that is just so outwardly horrible that you have to laugh? Experience a satire on the faults and the Communist government, where, even though it is a nice idea, everything goes wrong. This banned film was thought to portray the inevitable fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

Milos Forman's brilliant satire turns an epically disastrous girl into a merciless critique of the bureaucratic incompetence. When a brigade of small town firefighters throws and shindig in honor of their ailing octogenarian chairman, the result is a tragicomic train wreck as absurdist mishaps pile up: the guests take the prize table; The contestants in a beauty contest rebel; And a house fire reveals just how deep the ineptitude runs. Read by the government as an allegory for communism's failings, The Firemen's Ball was banned "forever" and Forman Exiled. It's easy to see why they were afraid. This is a political satire of the highest order: fiercely funny and painfully perceptive.









The Czech New Wave, one of the most radical and brilliant bursts of creativity in film history, has flourished even within a totalitarian state. It was a bloody end with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Despite the stifling restrictions, the intrepid generation of Filmmakers continued to challenge Communist censorship by creating an art that was unpopularly provocative, satirical, and deeply critical of authoritarianism. The Soviet government responded the only way it knew how: by banning these works outright so many went unseen in their home country for decades. In anticipation of Václav Havel Day in New York City on September 28 - Czech Republic's National Statehood Day - Join us for a celebration of these subversive, wildly funny, dark and defiant films.

Presented in collaboration with Lincoln Center and BBLA. 

*The name "Power of the Powerless" is inspired by Václav Havel's 1978 essay, "The Power of the Powerless." Havel started an important discussion on the subject of freedom and power in Eastern Europe, questioning how one should challenge and interact with governing bodies in their society.*


The Ear
The Cremator 
Larks on a String
All My Compatriots




Lincoln Center


From: Sep 23, 2017
To: Sep 24, 2017


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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