Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#151 Post by Gregory » Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:11 pm

Daisies is essential, but whether it's the best place to start depends entirely on one's interests and appreciation for experimentation and jettisoning of conventional narrative structures and character development. Marketa Lazarová is certainly great and essential too, but very challenging, I thought, requiring at least two viewings to get a real handle on it. If you wanted to start out with more broadly appreciated and approachable films, you could put at the top of your list a couple of the films that really introduced the world to Czech cinema: Loves of a Blonde and Closely Watched Trains.

User avatar
Saturnome
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:22 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#152 Post by Saturnome » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:53 pm

A few weeks ago I showed Daisies to a friend who liked it so much she made a fan art of it :
Image
A few days later through social media she got asked by a local publication (Panorama-Cinéma) to make a two pages comic about the film. Seeing your friends get work because they liked the film you showed them is pretty nice

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#153 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:10 pm

Neat! Cute drawing too

User avatar
whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#154 Post by whaleallright » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:07 pm

Daises seems to have had more of an afterlife than many of the other Czech films of the 1960s, in part because certain of its feminist motifs seem ahead of their time (or simply of this moment), and because it's very meme-able—a lot of its images are immediately striking in a way that plays well on tumblr and instagram. (Reminds me of how Dave Kehr pointed out that he thought The Seventh Seal got a lot of play in film scholarship and criticism in the 1950s and 1960s in part because its stark b&w images reproduced well in books of the time!)

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#155 Post by zedz » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:01 pm

whaleallright wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:07 pm
Daises seems to have had more of an afterlife than many of the other Czech films of the 1960s, in part because certain of its feminist motifs seem ahead of their time (or simply of this moment), and because it's very meme-able—a lot of its images are immediately striking in a way that plays well on tumblr and instagram. (Reminds me of how Dave Kehr pointed out that he thought The Seventh Seal got a lot of play in film scholarship and criticism in the 1950s and 1960s in part because its stark b&w images reproduced well in books of the time!)
I'd never come across that latter argument, and it's a pretty dumb one! The vast majority of arthouse films of the era were in (stark) black and white, with most designated auteurs only moving into colour film in the mid to late sixties (Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, Ray, Bresson, Kurosawa, Jancso, Wajda, Teshigahara). The French New Wave is just about the only strand of international arthouse cinema that embraced colour film earlier, and even then the most iconic and celebrated films that established the movement (Breathless, Hiroshima Mon Amour, The 400 Blows, Marienbad, Les Cousins, Jules and Jim, Cleo from 5 to 7) were black and white. The Seventh Seal got a lot of play in 50s and 60s film scholarship because it was well-distributed in English-language countries, commercially successful and eminently analyzable - and anyway, there weren't any Bergman films without stark black and white photography that anybody wanted to talk about until The Passion of Anna in 1969.

User avatar
Saturnome
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:22 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#156 Post by Saturnome » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:19 pm

I think pictures from horror films like Nosferatu or the Universal monster series in books helped their popularity in the 60s & 70s, isn't it ? Like kids collecting books and looking at the pics without ever seeing most of the films.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#157 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Well, Universal had a strong television arm, so those films would have been fixtures on late night TV, but maybe for the more obscure titles that would pop up in movie mags

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#158 Post by movielocke » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:39 pm

zedz wrote:
whaleallright wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:07 pm
Daises seems to have had more of an afterlife than many of the other Czech films of the 1960s, in part because certain of its feminist motifs seem ahead of their time (or simply of this moment), and because it's very meme-able—a lot of its images are immediately striking in a way that plays well on tumblr and instagram. (Reminds me of how Dave Kehr pointed out that he thought The Seventh Seal got a lot of play in film scholarship and criticism in the 1950s and 1960s in part because its stark b&w images reproduced well in books of the time!)
I'd never come across that latter argument, and it's a pretty dumb one! The vast majority of arthouse films of the era were in (stark) black and white, with most designated auteurs only moving into colour film in the mid to late sixties (Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, Ray, Bresson, Kurosawa, Jancso, Wajda, Teshigahara). The French New Wave is just about the only strand of international arthouse cinema that embraced colour film earlier, and even then the most iconic and celebrated films that established the movement (Breathless, Hiroshima Mon Amour, The 400 Blows, Marienbad, Les Cousins, Jules and Jim, Cleo from 5 to 7) were black and white. The Seventh Seal got a lot of play in 50s and 60s film scholarship because it was well-distributed in English-language countries, commercially successful and eminently analyzable - and anyway, there weren't any Bergman films without stark black and white photography that anybody wanted to talk about until The Passion of Anna in 1969.
Color is a lot harder to do cheap before digital grading because continuity is so much harder to balance which leads to longer shoot schedules which increases the budget, plus you spend more and longer color timing to make the small things match even then. Most of the cinemas you’re talking about stayed black and white because it was the most practical way to make films and color was budgetarily an egregious expense.

User avatar
whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#159 Post by whaleallright » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:54 pm

zedz wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:01 pm
I'd never come across that latter argument, and it's a pretty dumb one!

I think Kehr's argument was slightly tongue-in-cheek, and he certainly wasn't suggesting it was the only or primary reason for The Seventh Seal's success (say that twelve times in quick succession!). Mostly Kehr was just taking a potshot at Bergman and his film.

But I don't think it's a crazy argument, whether you like Bergman and The Seventh Seal or not. It's not just the fact that the film is in B&W but that it is full of these immediately striking, high-contrast, symbol-laden images. Indeed, cf. Nosferatu and Passion of Joan of Arc.

User avatar
Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#160 Post by Gregory » Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:02 pm

Kehr's statement had nothing to do with black and white. He said that The Seventh Seal was still Bergman's most celebrated work probably "because the stark imagery reproduces so well in still photographs," stark not necessarily meaning b&w but rather "death staring you in the face" or "figures dancing on a horizon." I think there is a lot of truth to that, that those are some of the most iconic images Bergman would capture in his many films and that they resonated so well as stills, though one could make all the same claims for Persona. These are not necessarily Bergman's two best films but in terms of capturing his aesthetic in stills, these have resonated the most.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#161 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:12 pm

Really? To me it just sounds like a barely-coded: "I don't particularly like this film, so everybody that claims they do like it must be doing so in bad faith."

User avatar
Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#162 Post by Gregory » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:53 pm

I just meant that he doesn't say anything about black-and-white reproduction of stills, and his actual comment about the imagery reproducing so well as stills doesn't seem to go beyond the obvious. His more telling and controversial comment about the valuation of the movie is that "It survives today only as an unusually pure example of a typical 50s art-film strategy: making the most modern and popular art form acceptable to the intelligentsia by forcing it into an arcane, antique mold (here the form of medieval allegory)." Which is plainly false: it "survives" today as a lot of things beyond his medieval allegory gripe, and I don't see how Bergman was "forcing" the medium of film into anything.

User avatar
whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave

#163 Post by whaleallright » Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:25 am

zedz wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:12 pm
Really? To me it just sounds like a barely-coded: "I don't particularly like this film, so everybody that claims they do like it must be doing so in bad faith."
Yeah I definitely think there's an element of that!

BTW some folks here are insanely literal-minded and contentious (me included, I guess?).

Post Reply