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Mary Neuburger, Director BUR 452, 2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3607

Czech New Wave Cinema Comes to Austin

Posted: November 4, 2013

What could result from a chance encounter over breakfast tacos in Wimberley, TX between Professor Mark Hopkins and Czech film producer Jeffrey Brown? A collaboration between our Department and the Austin Film Society for a Czech New Wave Film retrospective, of course!  

Both Jeff Brown and Dr. Mark Hopkins are residents of Wimberley, TX and Czech culture enthusiasts. A native Texan, Jeffrey Brown has been working in production in the Czech film scene for more than twenty years and has won numerous awards in the field. Our two heroes first met during last year’s Czech film series at UT Austin, where film producer Jeff Brown presented two films. So when Mr. Brown mentioned the possibility this year for Austin to host a film retrospective of one of the most well known film directors from the Czech New Wave, Jan Němec, Dr. Hopkins was eager to bring UT into the mix. Having enthusiastically jumped at this unique opportunity, the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies is now collaborating with the Austin Film Society in screening four of Němec’s most well-known films at the Marchesa Theater in November and December. 

Check out the trailer for the retrospective here!


If you'd like to learn more about the Czech Director Jan Němec and why his films were chosen for a U.S. tour, you can ask Mr. Brown yourself at the exclusive UT Screening of the Jan Němec Documentary, followed by a brief talk by Jeffrey Brown:

"GOLDEN SIXTIES (Zlatá Šedesátá): JAN NEMEC" (2011, 58min)

November 12th at 6:00pm in MEZ 1.306.

Jeffrey Brown will give a brief talk on Jan Nemec and his place in the Czech New Wave, focusing on the titles chosen for the Retrospective, as well as his place in current Czech cinema, following the screening of the documentary GOLDEN SIXTIES.
 
 

 

Friday, November 15th at 8:30pm:  "A REPORT ON THE PARTY AND THE GUESTS"

 A REPORT ON THE PARTY AND GUESTS (O slavnosti a hostech) (1966, 70min) With Ivan Vyskocil, Jan Klusak, Evald Schorm,  Zdena Skvorecka. This film puts Nemec squarely in the Czech avant-garde along with Vera Chytilova (Daisies). Writing script with the same partner, Ester Krumbachova, who also created the remarkable look of both films, Nemec made an absurd, yet very universal film, about the mechanics of power and how people collaborate in creating the reality that oppresses them. A group of middle-aged bourgeois picnicking in the woods on their way to a celebration is assaulted by thugs who begin to interrogate them for no obvious reason, until the party’s host intervenes. The film premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1966, but at home it was banned ‘forever’ by the Communists, who rebuffed Nemec’s assurances that the film is not an allegory of the current government. 
“Pure and universal” – Renata Adler, The New York Times
 
 

Sunday, December 1st at 7:00pm: "TOYEN"

 TOYEN (2005, 63min) With Zuzana Stivinova, Jan Budar. In one of the most enigmatic films of his career Nemec takes on the task of creating an artist’s portrait by an abstractly structured film. At its center is the revered surrealist painter known as Toyen, a name she was given by her friend and fellow surrealist Jindrich Styrsky, which was to inspire ambiguity about the bearer’s sex. The film, true to the subject’s own surrealist style, is an idiosyncratic vision on the theme of Toyen and her destiny. Nemec revisits the most oppressive period of her life, when she lived in Prague providing shelter to artist Jindrich Heisler, who was evading calls to transports during WWII, followed by the early years of the Communist regime. Much like the artists’ lives, the film disintegrates in hallucinatory visions and images, and through associations attempts to reveal what fired Toyen’s imagination.
 
 

 

Monday, December 2nd at 8:00pm: "A LOAF OF BREAD" and "DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT"

DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT (Demanty noci) (1964, 64min) With Antonin Kumbera and Ladislav Jansky. Believing that director must create “a personal style” and “a world independent of reality as it appears at the time”, Nemec employed his visions already in his first feature length film. DIAMONDS follows an escape of two young concentration camp prisoners through the woods of Sudetenland and the ensuing hunt for them. Employing devises of ‘pure cinema’, Nemec depicts the state of distressed human mind, moving freely between the present, dreams and flashbacks. This true surreal masterpiece comes closer to the truth of human experience, than any works of realism.  Newly struck archival 35mm print!To be screened with A LOAF OF BREAD (Sousto) (1960, 11min) Nemec’s school graduation film is based on a story from the same book by Arnost Lustig and could be seen as a prequel to DIAMONDS as it follows a story of starving prisoners plotting to steal a piece of bread from a parked train.
 
 

Wednesday, December 4th at 7:00pm: "A LOAF OF BREAD" and "DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT"

DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT (Demanty noci) (1964, 64min) With Antonin Kumbera and Ladislav Jansky. Believing that director must create “a personal style” and “a world independent of reality as it appears at the time”, Nemec employed his visions already in his first feature length film. DIAMONDS follows an escape of two young concentration camp prisoners through the woods of Sudetenland and the ensuing hunt for them. Employing devises of ‘pure cinema’, Nemec depicts the state of distressed human mind, moving freely between the present, dreams and flashbacks. This true surreal masterpiece comes closer to the truth of human experience, than any works of realism.  Newly struck archival 35mm print!To be screened with A LOAF OF BREAD(Sousto) (1960, 11min) Nemec’s school graduation film is based on a story from the same book by Arnost Lustig and could be seen as a prequel to DIAMONDS as it follows a story of starving prisoners plotting to steal a piece of bread from a parked train.

 

Friday, December 6th at 7:30pm:  "PEARLS OF THE DEEP"

PEARLS OF THE DEEP (Perlicky na dne) (1966, 107min) includes story directed by JN: THE IMPOSTORS (Podvodnici) With Milos Ctrnacty, Frantisek Havel. Considered a manifesto of the Czechoslovak New Wave, this anthology of five short films by five rising directors is based on a book by the venerable Bohumil Hrabal. Absurdist in style and turning attention to the individual, the writer broke with the socialist realism that was the dictate of the times. Nemec’s story is the most stylistically simple, about two elderly men sharing their illustrious life careers while spending time in hospital. The conclusion reveals that one of their best qualities was mastering the art of embellishment.

Click here for more information on this event!

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