Czechoslovak New Wave
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Czechoslovak New Wave (also Czech New Wave) is a term used for the early films of 1960s Czechoslovak directors Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová, Ivan Passer, Jaroslav Papoušek, Jiří Menzel, Jan Němec, Jaromil Jireš and others. The quality and openness of the films led the genra to be called the Czech film miracle.
Trademarks of the movement contain long unscripted dialogues, dark and absurd humour, and the casting of inexperienced actors. The films often treated themes that were uncommon in communist countries, such as the love-confusion of young people or the absence of morality in Czechoslovak society. Directorally the Czechoslovak New Wave differed from the rough aesthetic of the French New Wave with whom relations were often strained; the Czechoslovak New Wave tended to present polished films often taken from Czech literature, including Jaromír Jireš' adaptation of Milan Kundera's anti-Communist novel The Joke. Forman's The Firemen's Ball, another major film of the era, remains a cult film even more than three decades after its creation.
The movement came to an abrupt end following the 1968 Soviet clampdown on the liberalization of the Prague spring; Forman, Němec, and Passer fled the country, while those who remained faced heavy censorship of their work.
Comparisons to French new wave
Key works of the Czechoslovak New Wave
- Black Peter by Miloš Forman (1963)
- Something Different by Věra Chytilová (1963)
- Closely Watched Trains by Jiří Menzel (1966)
- Daisies by Věra Chytilová (1966)
- Loves of a Blonde by Miloš Forman (1966)
- The Joke by Jaromil Jireš (1968)
- The Firemen's Ball by Miloš Forman (1968)
- Behold Homolka by Jaroslav Papoušek (1969)
- Valerie and Her Week of Wonders by Jaromil Jireš (1971)
- The Fifth Horseman is Fear by Zbnek Brynych (1968)
- Sunshine in a Net by Štefan Uher (1962)
- Deserters and Pilgrims (aka The Deserter and the Nomads) by Juraj Jakubisko (1968)
- Celebration in the Botanical Garden by Elo Havetta (1969)