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East/Central European Langauge Feature Films in Leavey Library (DVDs): Czech Titles

Czech Films

Alois Nebel
"Traces the haunted memories and mysterious visions of a troubled train dispatcher through the shifting cultural and political landscape in the waning days of the Cold War. Preferring timetables to people, Alois Nebel leads a quiet life at a remote railway station on the Czech-Slovak border - disrupted only by the fog that brings hallucinations of trains from the past - ghosts from Central Europe's dark past, ultimately sends him on a nightmarish journey."

Burning Bush
"Acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland returns to a pivotal time in modern Czech history: the shocking act of a student of the Charles University's Faculty of Arts, who in protest of the Soviet occupation, set himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square on January 16, 1969, and died four days later. Through the story of defense attorney Dagmar Buresova, who defended Palach's legacy in a doomed lawsuit, the film examines the transformations taking place in Czechoslovak society. "

Distant Journey
"One of the first theatrical films about the Holocaust, banned for decades in the Czech Republic and then rediscovered, follows the struggles of Dr. Hannah Kaufman and her family from the time of the Nazi Occupation of Prague through her experiences in the transit camp of Theresienstadt."

The Fifth Rider is Fear  = A pátý Jez̧dec je Strach
"An aging Jewish doctor is forbidden to practice medicine in Prague during the Nazi occupation. He is employed in a warehouse as a clerk, cataloguing confiscated Jewish property. When a partisan is wounded, the doctor reluctantly agrees to treat him. The doctor hides him in his run-down apartment buiding as he sneaks through the black-market underworld of Prague in search of morphine to ease the man's pain, ever fearful of informant neighbors and vigilant authorities. Within a historical context, director Zbyněk Brynych creates a thinly-disguised allegory about contemporary communist Czechoslovakia that is rich in atmosphere and dark in tone. The expressionist cinematography and stellar performances make this lost masterwork an unforgettable viewing experience."

Hoří, má panenko = The Firemen's Ball
"In a small provincial town, arrangements and events surrounding the firemen's annual ball, honoring a retiring firechief, go wrong at every turn."

I Served the King of England
"A young restaurant worker does whatever it takes to become a millionaire, only to realize that by accomplishing his goal he has wound up in prison."

Kolya
"A confirmed bachelor is in for the surprise of his life when a get-rich-quick scheme backfires, setting off a wild set of circumstances and leaving him with a pint-sized new roommate."

Lásky jedné plavovlásky = Loves of a Blond
"Story of a young woman who like her friends is very concerned with men and love. A reserve army group comes into town and she falls in love with a pianist, who after swearing eternal love leaves for his home."

Little Otik = Otesánek
"In this adaptation of a Czech legend about an infertile couple, a husband presents a tree stump that physically resembles a baby to console his wife. When she treats it like a real baby, it comes to life and acquires a monstrous appetite."

Marketa Lazarová
"This stirring and poetic depiction of a feud between two rival medieval clans is a fierce, epic, and meticulously designed evocation of the clashes between Christianity and Pagansim, humankind and nature, and love and violence."

Musíme si pomáhat = Divided We Fall
"During World War II and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslavakia, a couple, Josef and Marie, decide to hide a young Jewish neighbor in their small apartment. They keep getting a visit from their neighbor, Horst, who is a German sympathizer and has his eye on Marie. When she rejects his advances he seeks revenge by trying to move a Nazi clerk into their home, forcing the couple to tell a lie that will change their lives forever."

Návrat ztraceného syna = Return of the Prodigal Son
"A successful, seemingly happily married man cannot find his place in the world following his unexplained his suicide attempt."

O slavnosti a hostech = A Report on the Party and Guests
"A pleasant picnic grows sinister when a cabal of mysterious men emerges from the forest and takes control."

Obchod na korze = Shop on Main Street
"In 1942, Tono and his wife are struggling because of his antipathy towards the fascist regime. His brother-in-law, the local fuehrer, chooses Tono to oversee a button shop owned by a sweet, harmless Jewish widow, Mrs. Lautman. Unable to explain his position to Mrs. Lautman, Tono gradually accepts her belief that he is her assistant. When the Jews are ordered deported, the well-meaning Tono decides to shield her from the Nazis."

Ostře sledované vlaky = Closely Watched Trains
"Comedy-drama about a young trainmaster employed in a tiny station during World War II. He becomes involved in a plot to blow up a German ammunition train, but when the plan backfires, he is forced to commit the ultimate act of courage."

Perličky na dně = Pearls of the Deep
"These five eccentric tales take the viewer on a journey from a motorcycle race to a rain-soaked wedding party to an unexpected cross-cultural romance."

Protektor
"This fateful love story is set in Prague during the late 1930s and subsequent Nazi occupation. It focuses on radio journalist Emil, who is deeply in love with his glamorous Jewish movie star wife Hana. When the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia is established, Hana's career is cut short and Emil's radio station put under German control. Emil chooses to collaborate with the occupiers in order to survive and protect his wife. Ironically, this choice threatens to destroy the very thing he's trying to protect: Hana."

Rozmarné léto = Capricious Summer
"The arrival of a circus performer and his gorgeous young assistant disturbs the tranquility of three middle-aged friends."

Sedmikrasky = Daisies
"Two teenage girls decide that since the world is spoiled they will be spoiled as well; accordingly they embark on a series of destructive pranks in which they consume and destroy the world about them."

Something Like Happiness
"A trio of friends residing in an urban Czech housing project finds that happiness can come from the place where you least expect it in this quirky and heartfelt drama. As the shadow of the country's largest chemical factory looms large over their bleak industrial suburb, Monika, Tonik, and Dasha hold out hope for a brighter future in another place. While supermarket employee Monika's dreams are built around the hope that she will someday venture to America to be with her boyfriend, George, Tonik secretly pines for Monika, and single mother Dasha finds comfort in the arms of a married man while slowly drifting from reality. As Tonik flees his conservative parents to live on the farm of his eccentric aunt, Dasha's grip on reality finally slips -- leaving her two young children in the care of Tonik and Monika. As things begin to look up for the willing but inexperienced new parents, a lifetime of happiness is finally within their reach."

Valerie a týden divů
"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. Serves up an endlessly looping, nonlinear fairy tale, set in a quasi-medieval landscape. Ravishingly shot, enchantingly scored, and spilling over with surreal fancies."

Želary
"During WWII, nurse Eliška is part of a secret resistance movement with her lover, surgeon Richard. When he is discovered, she is forced to leave the hospital in order to hide from the Nazis as well. A sympathetic colleague sends her off with a patient whose life she saved, to the remote Moravian mountain village of Želary, where time has stopped, as he has agreed to hide her as his wife. They live in a modest cabin for two years, waiting for the Nazi occupation to end and begin to form a bond despite their

Žert = The Joke
"During the Stalinist era in Czechoslovakia, a student is sent away for a brutal 're-education' over a simple misunderstanding, then years later exacts his revenge"