The Cassandra Cat (1963)

Cult classic Czech film about a cat who wears sunglasses gets new UK blu-ray

The Cassandra Cat (Až přijde kocour, also known under the more direct translation When the Cat Comes), directed by Vojtěch Jasný, is a cult classic in the Czech Republic and is a staple among revival showings at Prague arthouses. But despite a 2021 4K restoration from the Czech National Film Archive, it has yet to receive an updated home video release.

Until now: courtesy of UK distributor Arrow Video, The Cassandra Cat can finally be enjoyed in all of its high-definition glory on a new blu-ray. While the restored version has yet to officially hit the Czech market, local distributors are also retailing the UK release.

The Cassandra Cat stars Jan Werich, Emília Vášáryová, and Vlastimil Brodský in the story of a traveling circus that arrives in a small Czech town. One of the members of the circus happens to be a cat that wears sunglasses — and through them, reveals the desires and virtues of the townsfolk.

Part fairy tale and part political satire, The Cassandra Cat won the Jury Prize at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival. Five years later, it was banned by the communist regime after Soviet tanks rolled into Prague, with censors deeming the movie a subversive critique.

Arrow Video’s new release is the world premiere of The Cassandra Cat on high-definition home video. It includes co-writer Jiří Brdečka’s animated short Badly Painted Hen as well as audio commentary and booklet featuring an essay about the film by author Cerise Howard.

The Cassandra Cat became something of a meme recently, after Chris Person tweeted a story about his film professor’s description of the movie: “when I was in my country I make movie about cat who wear sunglasses, and shows people true feelings.”

The Cassandra Cat director Vojtěch Jasný fled the Czech Republic after the Warsaw Pact Invasion of the country by Soviet forces in 1968. He found a career teaching throughout Europe and the United States, and permanently relocated to New York in the 1980s, where he taught at Colombia University, the New York Film Academy, and the School for Visual Arts.

He also continued to make offbeat films, if only sporadically. He wrote the Canadian cult classic The Peanut Butter Solution, which has haunted the minds of many 80s kids since its release in 1985, and directed the similar The Great Land Of Small, which has yet to achieve the same kind of fanfare.

“Jasný is the spiritual father of the Czech New Wave,” Miloš Forman once said about the filmmaker, who returned to the Czech Republic after the Velvet Revolution and passed away in 2019.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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