Czech New Wave Filmmakers in Interviews

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About the Book

In Czechoslovakia, in the 1960s, artists began to realize that the aesthetics of social realism contrasted with the realities of daily life; a movement of film arose in response to the politics and history of the nation. This work collects candid interviews with the creators of the Czech New Wave film movement (1960–2000). Their work put Czech film on the map of world cinema, generating two Oscars for Best Foreign Film, but the official critique marked them as decadent, pessimistic, and reactionary.
The work contains sixteen uncensored interviews with filmmakers such as Jan Nemec, Jirí Menzel, Saša Gedeon, and Jan Sverák, who describe the struggle to realize their visions in a constantly shifting political landscape: from the mid-1960s, through the repressive “normalization” after the Soviet occupation in 1968 (more films were banned in 1970 than during the previous twenty years of Communism), and after the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The interviews give portraits of some of the most talented figures in film, revealing artists searching for individual and national identity, who describe living and making film in the Czech Republic now and in the past, explore how foreign films influence Czech film, and speculate on the future of film. Each interview includes a short biography, filmography, and list of awards. The work is bookended by essays giving background on the political and economic situations leading up to and after the Velvet Revolution.

About the Author(s)

Robert Buchar was a cinematographer in Czechoslovakia. He is now a professor and the director of the cinematography program at Columbia College in Chicago.

Bibliographic Details

Robert Buchar
Foreword by Antonin J. Liehm
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: 56 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1720-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8031-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword      1

Introduction      9

Antonín Mása      15

Jan Nemec      24

Sasa Gedeon      31

Jirí Menzel      38

Vera Chytilová      51

Jirí KrejVík      73

Jaroslav BouVek      87

Jaroslav Brabec      93

Jan Sverák      99

Zuzana Zemanová      108

Alois Fisárek      112

Otakar Vávra      115

Drahomíra Vihanová      125

Ivan Passer      144

Karel Vachek      151

Stanislav Milota      160

The Velvet Revolution and Beyond      180

Notes      187

Bibliography      211

Index      213

Book Reviews & Awards

“an insightful study”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly.