Jan Nemec: Rediscovered Treasures of the Czech New Wave





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Published on Oct 29, 2013

Dates: November 15 - December 6, 2013
Location: AFS at the Marchesa (6226 Middle Fiskville Rd)
For more information on this series: https://www.austinfilm.org/arthouse/s...

A REPORT ON THE PARTY AND GUESTS - Friday, November 15, 8:30 PM

This witty, subversive satire attacking the socialist state is the first in our exciting retrospective of Czech filmmaker Jan Nemec, a key player in the Czech New Wave movement that included Jaromil Jires and and Milos Forman.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.

TOYEN - Sunday, December 1, 7 PM

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 2, 8 PM
Wednesday, December 4, 7 PM

Believing that director must create "a personal style" and "a world independent of reality as it appears at the time", Jan 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 devices 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. Screened with A LOAF OF BREAD, 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.

PEARLS OF THE DEEP - Friday, December 6, 7:30 PM

Considered a manifesto of the Czech New Wave, this omnibus of five short films by five rising directors is based on a book by the venerable Bohumil Hrabal. Absurdist in style and focusing attention to the individual rather than the collective, the writer broke with the socialist realism that was the dictate of the times. Nemec's contribution to this anthology, THE IMPOSTORS, 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.


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