The 1960s Czech New Wave, part of the cultural movement known as Prague Spring, is one of the most famous movements in the history of Czech cinema, and one that foreign distributors continue to celebrate when releasing Czech films abroad.
It also came to a crashing end as Soviet tanks rolled into Prague at the end of 1968. Numerous films from famed directors like Jiří Menzel and Věra Chytilová were immediately banned and went unseen for the next two decades.
This Saturday, December 9, Prague 3 cinema Kino Aero will celebrate such movies with the very first installment of the Trezor Film Fest, or Festival of Banned Films. The inaugural edition of the fest will feature four movies screened over a single day.
Those films include the Jaromil Jireš drama The Joke (Žert), based on the Milan Kundera novel; Ivan Passer’s winning comedy Intimate Lighting (Intimní osvětlení); Karel Kachyňa’s paranoid thriller The Ear (Ucho), which predates Hollywood films like The Parallax View and The Conversation; and Juraj Herz’s The Cremator (Spalovač mrtvol), which I recently ranked as the best Czech horror movie ever made.
The Cremator and Intimate Lighting will be screened with English subtitles, while the other two films will not.
You may be familiar with Herz’s movie, but Intimate Lighting (pictured above), recently restored by the NFA, is a real gem that wonderfully captures a particular brand of dry Czech humor.
Passer, by the way, went on to become a largely unheralded Hollywood director: his films Born to Win (with George Segal) and Cutter’s Way (with Jeff Bridges and John Heard) are gritty classics, and he’s credited with “discovering” Jay Leno, who he plucked off a street corner for a role in the movie Silver Bears.
Tickets to all four films can be purchased for 300 CZK together, or 120 CZK apiece individually.
Here’s the full schedule for the banned film fest at Kino Aero on Saturday, December 9:
15:00: The Joke
17:00: Intimate Lighting (with English subtitles)
19:00: The Ear
21:30: The Cremator (with English subtitles)