Czechoslovak New Wave
Diamonds of the Night
Directed by Jan Němec • 1964 • Czechoslovakia
Starring Ladislav Janský, Antonín Kumbera
With this simultaneously harrowing and lyrical debut feature, Jan Němec established himself as the most uncompromising visionary among the radical filmmakers who made up the Czechoslovak New Wave. Adapted from a novel by Arnošt Lustig, DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT closely tracks two boys who escape from a concentration-camp transport and flee into the surrounding woods, hostile terrain where the brute realities of survival coexist with dreams, memories, and fragments of visual poetry. Along with visceral camera work by Jaroslav Kučera and Miroslav Ondříček—two of Czechoslovak cinema’s most influential cinematographers—Němec makes inventive use of fractured editing, elliptical storytelling, and flights of surrealism as he strips context away from this bare-bones tale, evoking the panicked delirium of consciousness lost in night and fog.
Up Next in Czechoslovak New Wave
Directed by Miloš Forman • 1964 • Czechoslovakia
Starring Ladislav Jakim, Pavla Martínková, Jan Vostrčil
One of the first films to herald the arrival of the Czechoslovak New Wave, Miloš Forman’s stylistically inventive debut narrative feature follows the bumbling teenager of the title (Ladislav ...
Loves of a Blonde
Directed by Miloš Forman • 1965 • Czechoslovakia
Starring Vladimíra Pucholta, Vladimír Menšik, Ivan Kheil
With sixteen women to each man, the odds are against Andula in her desperate search for love—that is, until a rakish piano player visits her small factory town and temporarily eases her long...
The Shop on Main Street
Directed by Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos • 1965 • Czechoslovakia
Starring Idá Kaminská, Josef Kroner, František Zvarík
An inept Slovak peasant is torn between greed and guilt when the Nazi-backed bosses of his town appoint him “Aryan controller” of an old Jewish widow’s button shop. Humor and traged...