28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton

The New Authenticity of the Czechoslovak Film Essay

“The loss of a sense of humour is one of the most serious disabilities of our time.”

The specific form of the film essay (or feuilleton) became widespread in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. It was a response to the socio-political developments in the country and to the veristic trends in world cinema. Greater freedom of expression and space for public discussion allowed filmmakers to come into closer contact with the public and the everyday reality of ordinary people. The works for which the term “Czechoslovak New Wave” was adopted were created, and opinion polls, hidden cameras, reportage and observation were popular. Among the genres of this “new authenticity” was the film essay, which commented with ironic exaggeration on negative social phenomena.

film database

A Peculiar Time
We'll never see a dewdrop disappear from a blade of grass, says the fatally poetic commentary on human time. The cinematic one, unlike the human one, can slow down, speed up, watch from close range and from a distance. Then there's outhouse time. It’s bureaucratic time, which fickly shuffles around the constant inertia of a haystack.

A Peculiar Time

Jiří Papoušek
Czechoslovakia / 1968 / 11 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
A Pedestrian Missing
A mouth shaped like an air pump, an enlarged chest and no legs – this is what homo koumes, the representative of mattress and transistor culture, will look like in the future. A satirical essay about the neglect of hiking, it depicts a new type of man who flees to the countryside in the same droves as homo sapiens, a man on foot, only with bicycles for legs.

A Pedestrian Missing

František Papoušek
Czechoslovakia / 1964 / 8 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
A Sunday in Hluboká
A bird on a deer antler, a noblewoman on whom a chandelier fell, burning her to death, felt socks on the castle floor and backwards big game. The fairground attractions complementing genre pictures from a group bus tour to Hluboká Castle show tourists in slow motion or speeding up to escape into collective timelessness.

A Sunday in Hluboká

Jiří Papoušek
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 13 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
A Sunday in Prague
The biggest calm is on the roof, because Sunday Prague does not rest. The chaotic stream of the collectively resting nation spreads avalanche-like to the swimming pool, the embankment or along the Vltava River. Lovers of beer, camping and recreational sports leave their homes to enjoy the tones of the weekend city in a symphony of crowds.

A Sunday in Prague

Bruno Šefranka
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 15 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Citizenship: Child
I like parrots, monkeys, gas masks and Czechs, boasts a little girl in a tenderly honest sociological film-survey that asks children aged four to five what the words home, nation and homeland mean. We are home when we are not out, home has no name, it is a feeling. Patriotism comes afterwards, we learn Europeanism and Czechism. Nation becomes home, a shelter and a trap.

Citizenship: Child

Radúz Činčera
Czechoslovakia / 1965 / 23 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Four Times and Again
We won't get to the future, even on a million scooters – even an infant can understand that. But we live in a society of rhinos that functions more like a zoo than a progressive world. A film essay about the issue of rewards according to the social meaning of work playfully discusses an unfair economy.

Four Times and Again

Radúz Činčera
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 16 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Globe on a Globe
Our balls will satisfy any chimney sweep, boasts the centrally planned economy as it produces more and more balls. But there are still just as many chimney sweeps. The socialist equivalent of Catch-22 makes a bitingly ironic comment on the paradoxical economics of scarcity and abundance. The mechanical gears of industry produce out of inertia just for the sake of producing.

Globe on a Globe

Bohuslav Musil
Czechoslovakia / 1965 / 12 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Hare Hunt
Some creatures are born with wings, others live behind a fence and long for freedom. Stanislav Neumann's weaving, fairy-tale voice appeals for human compassion in this poetic film made for the Ministry of Agriculture. Millions of eyes of a persecuted nation of hares fight against hounds, bullets and exploitation.

Hare Hunt

Miro Bernat
Czechoslovakia / 1960 / 20 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Hey You, Our Elephant
Shoot the elephant and the problem is solved, says the invisible Prague City Council, which decides on financing culture. A bitterly satirical commentary on the disastrous state of the buildings of the National Gallery, Czech Television and Prague's monuments points out that we are all elephants with the roof of the menagerie falling in on our heads.

Hey You, Our Elephant

Václav Táborský
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 9 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Holiday
Being somewhere else is the essence of Czech camping. Fleeting glances, the charms of passing women, queues for food, skirmishes between human males, the territoriality of tent stakes and the erotica of swing music personify the subversive summer illusion of a touchingly petty and collective escape into sameness.

Holiday

Václav Táborský
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 8 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Mud Covered City
A report from an unfinished housing estate, which won an award at the Venice Film Festival, captures the sea of mud separating the inhabitants of Prague's Malešice from their dreams of a new world, one which they are given in an absurdly unfinished state. Concrete panels like biscuits stacked on top of one another, a tap with no water and a can of mud for lunch remind us that society is a playground where anything can happen.

Mud Covered City

Václav Táborský
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 7 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
One Plus One Is Two
Jiří Menzel, a bachelor, is looking for a partner in an instructional film about how not to be alone. This socially futuristic probe into the souls of singles with a lack of dating opportunities shows that new times offer new possibilities – like a Swiss computer for finding the partner of your dreams.

One Plus One Is Two

Václav Táborský
Czechoslovakia / 1965 / 10 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Stranger Tale
Instead of a summer camp in the countryside, the reality of concrete surfaces, the dirt of unfinished housing estates and grumpy apartment dwellers – that’s childhood in the Prague of summer vacations. Karel Höger ironically invites you to a non-existent fairytale Prague that cares for the healthy development of future generations. It's a hundred-story playground of dreams, where adults aren’t allowed and children finally have a place to play.

Stranger Tale

Jaroslav Šikl
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 12 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
The Judgement of Paris
Give me an apple, you'll be intelligent and they won't even blame you, promises Athena to Paris, Jan Přeučil, who can't decide which of the three girls at the Prague swimming pool is the most beautiful. Miloš Kopecký and Miroslav Horníček comment on the aesthetic-ideological standards applied to female beauty throughout the ages.

The Judgement of Paris

Radúz Činčera
Czechoslovakia / 1962 / 24 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
The Smell of Petrol
Gasoline is like morphine and gas station attendants are like drug dealers. A colourfully intrusive hidden camera provides a picture of a road-tripping nation. Desire drives motorists onto the road, only to have a jovial employee pump the smell of distance and freedom into their metal guts.

The Smell of Petrol

Jiří Papoušek
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 17 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square is the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in a nutshell, explains Karel Höger in his annotated mosaic of local phenomena, which includes “meetings by the horse”, teeming crowds of tourists from Czechoslovakia and abroad, shopping frenzy, and patriotic affection for Czech beer and glass.

Wenceslas Square

Václav Táborský
Czechoslovakia / 1961 / 12 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
What the Viewer Can't See
Cowslips, the accelerated bloom of orchids, gargoyles and the childless Czech stork all belong to the tour of Lednice Castle and the adjacent park. The voice of the famous radio and television artist Jiří Štuchal, with his benevolent commentary on the bustling of tourists, accompanies the ornithological flight through the beauties of South Bohemia.

What the Viewer Can't See

Kuba Jureček
Czechoslovakia / 1964 / 12 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
What They Didn't Teach You in History Class
The loss of one’s sense of humour is one of the most serious disabilities of our time, proclaims this peculiar interpretation of Czech history through the eyes of artists Josef Neprakta, Vladimír Jiránek, Jaroslav Vyskočil and Zdeněk Jirotka. The masters of cartoon satire comment on the transformation of socialism during the Prague Spring using examples of historical events.

What They Didn't Teach You in History Class

Miloslav Hrubý
Czechoslovakia / 1969 / 9 min.
section: Czechoslovak Film Feuilleton
The film already had its Czech Premiere
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