Ester Krumbachová: Phantom of the Czechoslovak New Wave

Ester Krumbachová: Phantom of the Czechoslovak New Wave

10 Episodes

One of the key, unsung visionaries of the Czechoslovak New Wave of the 1960s and early ’70s, Ester Krumbachová left an indelible imprint on some of the movement’s defining films—including A REPORT ON THE PARTY AND GUESTS, DAISIES, and VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS—through her inimitable work as a costume designer, art director, and screenwriter, forging a boldly anarchic, surreal, often defiantly feminine aesthetic to match the freewheeling spirit of the times. Her sole directorial effort, the satanic feminist farce THE MURDER OF MR. DEVIL, is as wickedly subversive as anything the New Wave produced, so it’s little wonder that she was one of many artists effectively banned from filmmaking by the Communist authorities. Her legacy lives on, however, in the iconoclastic words and images that gave shape to one of the most radical creative eruptions in the history of cinema.

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Ester Krumbachová: Phantom of the Czechoslovak New Wave
  • Ester Krumbachová Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Diamonds of the Night

    Episode 2

    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 fro...

  • Coach to Vienna

    Episode 3

    Directed by Karel Kachyňa • 1966 • Czechoslovakia
    Starring Iva Janžurová, Jaromír Hanzlík, Luděk Munzar

    In the waning days of World War II, a young Czech woman (Iva Janzurová) is forced by a pair of Austrian soldiers to accompany them on their journey from the Russian front to Vienna. Unbeknowns...

  • A Report on the Party and Guests

    Episode 4

    Directed by Jan Němec • 1966 • Czechoslovakia

    In Jan Němec's surreal fable, a picnic is rudely transformed into a lesson in political hierarchy when a handful of mysterious authority figures show up. This allegory about oppression and conformity was banned in its home country but became an inter...

  • Daisies

    Episode 5

    Directed by Věra Chytilová • 1966 • Czechoslovakia
    Starring Ivana Karbanová, Jitka Cerhová, Marie Češková

    If the entire world is bad, why shouldn’t we be? Adopting this insolent attitude as their guiding philosophy, a pair of hedonistic young women (Ivana Karbanová and Jitka Cerhová), both named...

  • All My Good Countrymen

    Episode 6

    Directed by Vojtěch Jasný • 1969 • Czechoslovakia

    Vojtěch Jasný won the best director award at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival for this sweeping portrait of a small Czech village between the years of 1945 and 1958, during which the residents go from hopeful in the aftermath of the defeat of the Na...

  • Fruit of Paradise

    Episode 7

    Directed by Věra Chytilová • 1970 • Czechoslovakia
    Starring Jitka Nováková, Karel Novak, Jan Schmid

    Opening with a senses-ravishing, psychedelic vision of Eden, this tantalizing political allegory sets the story of Adam and Eve in a European health spa where a vacationing couple (Jitka Nováková ...

  • Witchhammer

    Episode 8

    Directed by Otakar Vávra • 1970 • Czechoslovakia
    Starring Vladimír Šmeral, Elo Romančík, Josef Kemr

    Cowritten by Ester Krumbachová and director Otakar Vávra, this unsettling parable uses seventeenth-century religious hysteria as a potent allegory for the repressive political climate of Soviet-oc...

  • Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

    Episode 9

    Directed by Jaromil Jireš • 1970 • Czechoslovakia
    Starring Jaroslava Schallerová, Helena Anyžová, Petr Kopriva

    A girl on the verge of womanhood finds herself in a sensual fantasyland of vampires, witchcraft, and other threats in this eerie and mystical movie daydream. VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WON...

  • Naughty Young People: Chytilová, Kučera, Krumbachová

    Episode 10

    This 2012 documentary by Daniel Bird describes the extraordinary collaboration among three artists at the height of their powers: director Věra Chytilová, cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera, and screenwriter Ester Krumbachová.