Date of event: January 28 In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Embassy of the Czech Republic will present the virtual screening of The Last Cyclist, an immersive film that captures a stage performance of a rediscovered dark comedy written in 1944 in the Nazi concentration camp Terezín. The film is available from January 27 through January 28, followed by an online discussion with writer Naomi Patz on January 28, at 2 pm.
The film will be available from January 27-28 at the following link: https://vimeo.com/503517493 | Password: Svenk
The Last Cyclist is a scathing satire in which bicyclists are blamed for all of society’s ills and systematically hunted down and murdered. The play was banned following its Terezín dress rehearsal. Lost to time, the script by Karel Švenk was painstakingly reconstructed by writer and producer Naomi Patz. The film, directed by Edward Einhorn, is a searing critique of Holocaust lunacy brought startlingly to life by Einhorn and his cast. The film offers powerful, poignant evidence of the resistance to allow audiences to bear witness. Details: 90 minutes, in English, filmed at the La MaMa in New York over four days in August 2017.
Register to attend: https://thelastcyclist.eventbrite.com. We will provide you with a Zoom link to the online discussion following your registration.
About the Writer:
Naomi Patz is the playwright and producer of The Last Cyclist. With her husband, Rabbi Norman Patz, she is currently working on a documentary about the film tentatively titled The Last Cyclist in Context. She also has created numerous one-act plays, scripts and parodies on Jewish themes, and a cantata called “A Word to the Wise.” Naomi is author of seven books as well as numerous essays, including monographs on two pre-World War II Czech Jewish communities (Dvůr Králové and Jihlava).
Her career includes serving as director of the North American Jewish Forum for eight years and National Director of Partnership 2000 (now Partners Together). She holds a BA in English literature from Barnard College, an MA in English from Old Dominion University, and an MA from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which awarded her an honorary doctorate in Jewish Religious Education in 2004.
Through a remarkable process of cultural anthropology, Naomi was able to reconstruct the play based on a 1965 essay about theater in Terezín by Jana Šedová, a well-known post-war Czech theater and film actress who was probably the only survivor of the original Cyclist cast. In her essay, Šedová called the play “our most courageous production.” Four years earlier Šedová had recreated the play from memory, staging it at the avant-garde Rokoko Theater in Prague. Though infused with communist ideology that wasn’t in the original, the 1961 script still guided Naomi in her quest to faithfully salvage Švenk’s original.
The Last Cyclist was banned by the Jewish Council of Elders, the internal puppet government chosen and controlled by the SS. Its author was a charismatic young avant-garde writer and director from Prague, Karel Švénk, who wrote and staged numerous cabaret and theater performances in Terezín. Described by survivors as a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the beloved Švenk was 28 when he died on a forced march westward from Buchenwald, as the Nazis retreated from the advancing Red Army a few weeks before the end of the war in Europe.
For additional information about the film, please visit: www.thelastcylist.com.
Logo of The Last Cyclist created by Mark Podwal.
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