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Jan 9, 2020 7:00 PM

Tribute to Vojtěch Jasný: All My Compatriots

Tribute to the recently deceased Vojtěch Jasný. All My Compatriots is considered to be one of the greatest Czechoslovak films. However, soon after its July 1969 premiere, the film, from screenwriter-director Vojtěch Jasný, found itself on the list of banned works.


January 9, 7PM
In the Cinema


Director: Vojtěch Jasný, 1968, 115 min, Czechoslovakia.
In Czech with English subtitles.

Introductory remarks by Irena Kovářová.

After war there is a celebration of freedom, but what happens when, even after victory, you do not agree with the new atmosphere? Experience the tension and heartbreak of shifting from the Nazi occupation to the rules of the Soviet Socialist Union. This banned movie explores how relationships are affected by a government that has the power to seize all one owns.

All My Compatriots is considered to be one of the greatest Czechoslovak films. However, soon after its July 1969 premiere, the film, from screenwriter-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. 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)

Called the spiritual father of the Czechoslovak New Wave by Miloš Forman, Vojtěch Jasný, whose father died in Auschwitz and who participated in the anti-Nazi resistance, began as a true believer in Communism. Všichni dobří 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.

Vojtěch Jasný
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 Czechoslovak 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 Všichni dobří rodáci (All My Compatriots), another satire about life in a small Czech town. In 1969, just after the Soviets took over his country, Jasný made the powerful short film Česká 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



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


Jan 9, 2020 7:00 PM


Czech Centre

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