In collaboration with the Czech Centre of Milan, the films featured in the focus dedicated to the Nová Vlna on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Prague Spring of 1968 will be screened in Florence and Rome.
Jiří Menzel, Jaromil Jireš, Juraj Herz, Ján Kádár and Elmar Klos are among the most significant representatives of a current in cinema – inspired by the French Nouvelle Vague – which fiercely opposed the regime, eager to experience the winds of freedom that swept through culture and society at the time.
4 not-to-be-missed appointments: 10 films from the Festival to see (again) on the big screen, in Florence and Rome.
Wednesday, April 11 – CAFFÈ ASTRA AL DUOMO, FLORENCE
5 pm: Ucho (The Ear) by Karel Kachyna
Info: Czech Centre Milan
Friday, April 12 – CINEMA TREVI, ROME
5 PM: Obchod na korze (The Shop on Main Street) by Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos
7:15 PM: O slavnosti a hostech (The Party and the Guests) by Jan Němec
8:30 PM Všichni dobří rodáci (All My Compatriots) by Vojtěch Jasný
Saturday, April 14 – CINEMA TREVI, ROME
5 PM: Spalovač mrtvol (The Cremator) by Juraj Herz
7 PM: Žert (The Joke) by Jaromil Jireš
8:30 PM Lásky jedné plavovlásky (Loves of a Blonde) by Miloš Forman
Sunday, April 15 – CINEMA TREVI, ROME
5 PM: Adelheid by František Vláčil
6:30 PM Ucho (The Ear) by Karel Kachyna
8:30 PM Skřivánci na niti (Larks on a String) by Jiří Menzel
«It is difficult to talk about the Nová Vlna as a homogeneous movement, let alone as a movement with shared projects. The filmmakers are friends who honed their skills in small avant-garde theatres and jazz clubs; they work by sharing ideas and experiences, but every one of them is extremely jealous of their individuality. United by ethics, divided by aesthetics, it was said about the protagonists of neorealism. Here, politics is the uniting factor; the dividing one is the way to interpret the “new”. Grown up artistically with the classics of neorealism, Fellini and Antonioni, following closely the nouvelle vague experience, in a constant interchange with their Polish and Hungarian peers – and, in the West, with the filmmakers of the free cinema, these bright young men and women, as Skvorecky called them, left their indelible mark on their time. There is still censorship, it’s true, but it is possible to circumvent it; in fact, being in part forced within its boundaries stimulates the imagination, offering a powerful outlet in the form of metaphor».
«The context in which the nouvelle vague of Prague was born is that of a country, Czechoslovakia, whose economy has collapsed under the pressure of the socialist regime. The resulting political crisis undermines the credibility of the establishment, also compromised by the delay in the rehabilitation of the victims of Stalin’s purges, which becomes a dividing factor within the Party. In such slowly yet constantly evolving scenario, with the loss of authority of that suffocating apparatus that is the Party, the cultural world flourishes. As a consequence, a wind of freedom start sweeping across all human forms of expression. Theatre, music, the arts can finally try and escape the impositions of the regime» «In the cinematographic field, an anomaly happens when the FAMU – the school that formed entire generations of young artists – becomes a sort of free zone for experimentation. The department of cinema and television of the Academy of the Arts becomes a breeding ground for ideas and training field for all the aspiring filmmakers who, among other things, have access to foreign films thanks to the National Film Archives». «Thus, revisiting some of the neorealist themes, with an eye on the European vagues this side and beyond the so-called Iron Curtain, in ambiguous proximity with a faux cinéma vérité, the Nová Vlna speaks its thousands languages, from phenomenological observation to metaphor, from “every-day tragedy” to philosophical tale, far from experimentalism but practicing an unusual freedom of form. Without forsaking, even in the enthusiasm of creating the “new” those that seem to be the funding elements of the national culture: measure, half-tones, and a melancholic smile capable of sudden sarcastic surges».
(Texts curated by Paolo Vecchi)