Údolí včel and Adelheid - Two Sides of the Coin?

After a long time, two DVDs with the films by František Vláčil have come out in the Czech Republic - Údolí včel (The Bee Valley) and Adelheid. Whereas the first one we can label as a well done publication, the disc with Adelheid is disappointing because it is bringing the film in a very bad quality. The publisher (Bonton) finances only the basic authoring work and so the quality of the disc depends on the quality of the surviving positive copies. In the case of Adelheid they did not even try to acquire a better picture base and brought brought onto the market a disc which harms the creators and the audience alike.

Petr Gajdošík, Nostalghia.cz

Shivers of Hitchcock

The Early Alfred Hitchcock's Films

The vast majority of people interested in Alfred Hitchcock's films is largely intrigued by several most famous titles like Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho etc. Nevertheless, the complex cinematography of Alfred Hitchcock's is quite a bit more varied than it may seem from the above mentioned films. The new Hitchcock seven-film collection represents primarily the early features from the British period which were made during the years 1928 – 1932 (The Farmer’s Wife, The Ring, The Manxman, Murder! , The Skin Game, Number Seventeen) and, moreover, one film made later in Hollywood (Foreign Correspondent). The early Hitchcock's cinema is significant because of its anticipation of crucial elements of his style and continuously recurring motifs and themes in Hitchcock’s total oeuvre. What’s more, his early English films disclose Hitchcock’s lust for experimentating with affluent diversity of film language: with different camera shots and movements, editing  of space, and later on, with sound and colour. In films of this period aesthetic influences of German Expressionism, Soviet montage theory and of Western European avant-garde are recognizable; these influences were pointed out to be the decisive factors in the formation of Hitchcock's mature film style. Despite the fact that the collection does not contain some of the best known works of early Hitchcock's cinema (The Lodger, Blackmail), it provides some interesting aspects of profound dimensions of Hitchcock’s artistic abilities and his creative variability.

Hana Stuchlíková

The Films of Krzysztof Kieślowski

Similarly to many of his film protagonists, Krzysztof Kieślowski died suddenly and unexpectedly - more than ten years ago. Although he lead more and more to abstraction and tacitness (thematically and formally), he gradually created a unique, universal film world full of citations and references  and consequences  themes and repeated questions.
The text takes note of Kieślowski´s themes progress, mainly in the early (Polish) phase of his feature films career. It mentions motifs of watching and monitoring, reflexion and self-reflexion, omnipresent chance events, the main role of the Fate and the relativity of the absolute judgements. A complicated network of connections and links, which he made in his movies about very lonely and very human heroes, now suprisingly continues to enlarge – with the films Heaven (T.Tykwer) and L´Enfer (D.Tanović). These movies are based on Kieślowski and Piesiewicz´s unrealised scripts.

Vít Peřina

Symmetry of Seeing/Asymmetry of Reality

The Films of Peter Greenaway

This article is focused on the first three full-length films that were made by Peter Greenaway in the 1980’s and also goes in for six Greenaway’s shorts from the 70’s. The first one, called The Falls (1980), is in its core a peculiar encyclopaedia of ninety two stories of different people who became victims of a mysterious incident called the "Violent Unknown Event" or VUE. Greenaway’s manner of narration is similar to the style of his short films and to his audience it introduces the reality as a maze of meanings. The second film - The Draughtsman's Contract (1982) – is actually Greenaway’s real first fiction full-length film. The film tells a story of a young and arrogant artist who is contracted to produce a series of 12 landscape drawings of an opulent house. The story of a mysterious murder is interlaced with another story that’s a fanciful parable of visual art itself including film art, of course. The third film A Zed & Two Noughts (A.K.A. Zoo) introduces a story of twins who came face to face with the death of their wives. They decided to shoot the process of dying in nature by making numerous time-lapse films of decaying animals. A general theme of birth and death is presented. Greenaway brightly shows reality as a contrast of symmetry and asymmetry of human view of it.

Michal Kříž

As in a Mirror, only in a Riddle

Andrei Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice

Tarkovsky's last film, The Sacrifice is being analysed from two points of view, both of which create some tension and are still a matter for intellectual debates. It is the relationship between the intellectual perception of existence and the anticipated spiritual state, which is not covered by the intellectual analysis. This is the way the central motif of the film is presented. Alexander senses the antagonism of the material world reality and the spiritual principles, and he is the model for a human wisdom, unable to cross the limits of his own empiric knowledge and to walk on the spiritual fundamentals of the world. Such a crucial conflict in the mind of the modern human being can be overcome by realizing the connections between one's personal sacrifice and one's self. Credible existence means the sacrifice of one's superciliousness in favour of one's credibility. The sacrifice itself lies in the very realization of sacrifice as a principle of one's human credibility, which altogether must be seen in the context of humanity as a principle.

Vladimír Suchánek

Flying Carpet of Unchained Fantasy

Sergei Parajanov's Ashug-Karibi

The article aims at examining the inner structural relations of S. Parajanov's last film. These relations are well beyond the routine dramatic and expression film structures. Parajanov comes up with an utterly new concept when decided not to use the fundamental structural principles of filmmaking. The director does not transform the means of expression used in other fields of art into the language of filmmaking. Instead, he lets them flow into a system, based on inner relations of the Persian literary miniature. At the same time, Parajanov transforms the classic dramatic art of theatre as he re-establishes the gesture of allegorical declarative theatre of the ancient Greece. Hence, the literary text is transmuted into the music of Armenian bards “ašots” and its artistic conception is based on a system of fine art, derived from the Persian miniature and pantomime. The magic carpet has its own story, and we are the principal characters in it. All of this is a part of the Oriental tradition. The miniatures painted in gold come alive and speak through their own language of Oriental calligraphy. The fairytale enters the life.

Vladimír Suchánek