Good Czech movies


I recently saw this and Closely Watched Trains on TV one night and loved them. Unfortunately I am quite ignorant of Czech cinema except for the films of Jan Svankmajer (which I don't especially care for) and was wondering if anyone could recommend some other good ones I could look into.

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both Shop... and Closely... are Czechoslovakian movies, Shop.. was made in Slovakia and it's spoken in slovak language and Closely... in Czech, spoken in Czech
Despite being one country during Iron Curtain time, there's difference between Czech and Slovak movies
just for your info ;)

"Think about it on the tree of woe...."

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I'm terribly sorry for my mistake. I am aware of the difference between the countries but I guess I wasn't thinking at the time I posted. In that case, could anyone recommend any movies in Czech or Slovak?

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yup, no problem. Ok , so the best czech movies are imo (in this order): Kladivo na carodejnic, Marketa Lazarova, Ucho, Limonadovy Joe, Spalovac mrtvol, Obchod na korze, Vsichni dobri rodáci and Udoli vcel. Those are all seminal masterpieces.

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Thanks a lot for the suggestions! I am definitely looking forward to checking these out.

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Nice to see American having an interest in czech movies. Too bad all suggested movies come from 1965-70, we are not able to produce movies of this quality anymore. Our top movies can be compared with the best American movies..

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I just read about some movies directed by Jan Hrebejk, Ondrej Trojan, and Vladimir Michalek, respectively, which I believe are all in the Czech language and fairly new. Does anyone have anything to say about these more recent films? Once again I apologize for my mistake about The Shop on Main Street, but when I watched it the information on the box told me that it was in Czech; I have not yet heard enough of the languages to be able to distinguish between them.

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Yes, those movies are pretty average and I must say don't make world level. The movies I recommended to you however are fantastic. Btw. It is really very low difference between slovak and czech movie, since it was one state back in 1965.

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I've now been able to see three of the movies you recommended (Kladivo na carodejnice, Limonádový Joe, and Udoli vcel) and just wanted to thank you for exposing me to such movies as I otherwise would not have come across. They were all brilliant and I will do my best to see the others, though unfortunately they are not available in my area. Just a question about Czech and Slovak: are they mutually intelligible, like Swedish and Norwegian? Or are the differences greater?

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As a Czech I see no big difference between Slovakia and Czech. Unless you've seen them already I highly recommend Sverak's Dark Blue World, Kolja and Hrebejk's Pelisky(Cosy Dens).

btw in case you watched Hostel or Eurotrip - don't belive that sh!t, I have to assure you that portrayal of Slovakian capital Bratislava is very inaccurate.

edit: I forgot to mention Musime Si Pomahat and Je Treba Zabit Sekala, these ase pretty good too IMO

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i consider dark blue world fairly average, plotwise. we czechs care for it because it's obvious superiority over pearl harbor, which was released at the same time, and because it's best looking and most expensive czech movie. i'd rather recommend another older movie about czechs in war over britain, nebesti jezdci.
http://imdb.com/title/tt0127043/
as for pelisky, that one i consider 'czechs only' movie. it heavily depends on knowledge of the environment. i break down in tears just by seeing a noticeboard with food schedule, but i don't expect that to work on.. westerners :) i guess sverak's obecna skola might work better. it's equal fun with less reminiscence scenes and has much nicer settings and camera work.
http://imdb.com/title/tt0102571/
otherwise i strongly agree with je treba zabit sekala, that one's really worth it.

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Of the Czech films I have seen, Pelisky is among the best, and I'm British.

It's an understandable habit sometimes for people to assume that some elements of their culture might be impenetrable to 'outsiders' but it's not always the case and such explorations can be educational in themselves.

x

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if you dont care about the genre then you could also be interested in old czech comedies. the ones from 70`s and 80`s are pretty good in my opinion.
however if you care about more serious movies and dramas i think sverak`s dramas are great- above mentioned dark blue world and kolja and i would also add obecna skola (the elementary school) and you should definately check trojan`s zelary and musime si pomahat (divided we fall)- they both take place during world warII.
Pelisky is great movie but i thnik one should know the conditions in then czechoslovakia tu fully understand the movie.

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I don't believe this wonderful film was mentioned by others: Zelary
It is fairly recent (2003), Czech & also takes place during World War II.
Very engrossing story about a female resistance member who must flee to the countryside to escape capture by the Gestapo; she forms a new identity and way of living, having lived primarily in cities.

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kotrnyl mentioned some of the best czech movies ever. If you are also interested in some great Slovak movies, I recommend Zahrada(1995), Medena Veza (1970), Perinbaba (1985) and Slnko v Sieti(1962)

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I think Hrebejk is a fantastic director. I especially recommend Pelisky (Cozy Dens), Musime si Pomahat (Divided We Fall), and Horem Padem (Up and Down). All three are excellent, although the first one isn't available on region 1 dvd.

Hrebejk's movies are deceptively simple. There's actually a lot more going on than meets the eye, but he grounds his movies in the everyday, much like some of the earlier New Wavers (see especially Menzel).

If you have a multi-region dvd player, you might want to check out a UK-based dvd boutique called Second Run (http://secondrundvd.com). They have several Czech movies in their collection.

And the Criterion Collection has two Milos Forman movies (Loves of a Blonde, Fireman's Ball), as well as Menzel's Closely Watched Trains.

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IS THE SLOVAK MOVIE...NO CZECH!!!!!

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovakia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovakia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_Republic

it's sometimes hard to distinguish between czech and slovak movies not only during czechoslovakia times, but even today- for exmple Bathory http://imdb.com/title/tt0469640/ is completly mixed
it has been usual that slovak actors/directors/... participate in czech film
unfortunately period 1992-2005 was period of total downfall of slovak cinema, so opposite situation wasn't so usual (czechs participating in slovak film)



"Think about it on the tree of woe...."

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Try Záhrada (The Garden) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115040/

My vote history
http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=21237198

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I think that prior to 1993 there is no point in distinguishing between "Czech" and "Slovak" movies. In the case of Shop, the author and ONE of the directors were Slovak, as were most of the actors. Ida Kaminska was Polish, of course. The cameraman was Czech, as was the fantastic composer, Zdenek Liska, who wrote the haunting theme music and the promanade waltz for this movie. The assistant director was Slovak (Juraj Herz, later to become a prominent director in his own right) The producers were Czech, as was most of the studio personnel at Barrandov.

This particular movie (Shop on Main Street) most certainly deals with a Slovak theme/problem but the film industry in the 60's and up to the 90's was Czechoslovak.

Not sure "Kolya" was mentioned in the previous posts - a wonderful movie. I agree with one of the previous posters that Czechoslovak movies are every bit as good and often much better than mainstreem Hollywood stuff. During the golden age of Czechoslovak cinema, there were three Academy Award nomination in a row and two wins. More recently there have been two nominations and one win. A most distinguished record.



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I agree. I've recently been mining the Czech New Wave and have been pleasantly surprised with the quality. So far I've seen--using the English titles--Pearls of the Deep, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, The Shop on Main Street, Valley of the Bees, ...And Give My Love to the Swallows (although not technically in the New Wave era, I added it anyway), The Joke and The Firemen's Ball. Next on my list to watch are Loves of a Blonde and Closely Watched Trains.

I'll write this in all caps to hopefully get a response: CAN ANYONE GIVE A SUCCINCT DEFINITION OF THE CZECH NEW WAVE? I would try, but I'd rather it come from someone a little more knowledgable.

~The man is a liar and murderer, and I say that with all due respect.~

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There is not really a stilistic and thematic unity to the films (as you have probably seen), but what was special about the Czechoslovak new wave was the fact, that they all somehow worked together. Not all directors (and crew) graduated from FAMU, but (even the older directors like Kachyna, Vlacil, Jasny...) worked with similar crews, often the directors of one film were assistant directors of the other. Some were fighting with the censors to get others films made, etc.

Many of them were also in the surrealist tradition of Czechoslovakia (well the Slovak was a little later, I think it started in the thirties, whereas the czech came a little earlier...unfortunately it is not very well known, even though it was equally important as the french movement...but people in the west are mostly arrogant toward slaws (and hungarians)).

Recommended reading:

Czechoslovak New Wave
Central-European Cinema...both by Peter Hames

The Cinema of the other Europe by Dina Iordanova

The Coasts of Bohemia by Derek Sayer (doesn't deal with film, but I find it an important book considering the evolution of national identity and art)

Geopolitics of Central-Europe by Oskcar Krejci (again...not about film, but a book I think everyone interested in the region should read, and all people from Germany and Switzerland (so they gain a better and less arrogant world view)) It's also a good book to help understand the tensions/differences between Slovaks and Czechs. (this one is downloadable for free)

Hope this helps.

http://www.shompy.com/milan-k/l39025_ukuk.html

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Also if you like teen-movies, the "Basnici" series (the first three films form the series) are very good. That is how films about teens trying to loose their virginity should be:).

http://www.shompy.com/milan-k/l39025_ukuk.html

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I can recommend Larks on a String (1990) Skrivánci na niti.

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This is a Slovakian film

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