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 international success after it premiered at the New York Film Festival. —The Criterion Collection
Jan Němec (July 12, 1936, Prague) is a Czech filmmaker whose most important work dates from the 1960s. Film historian Peter Hames has described him as the “enfant terrible of the Czech New Wave.”
Němec’s career as a filmmaker in the late 1950s when he attended FAMU, the most prestigious institution for film training in Czechoslovakia. At this time, Czechoslovakia was ruled by a puppet government subservient to the USSR and artistic and public expression was subject to censorship and government review. However, thanks largely to the failure of purely propagandist cinema in the early 1950s and the presence of important and powerful people within the Czechoslovak film industry, such as Jan Prochazka, the 1960s led to an internationally acknowledged creative surge in Czechoslovak film that became known as the Czech New Wave, in which Němec played an instrumental part.
As a graduation film, Němec adapted a short story by Arnošt Lustig based on the author’s experience of the… read more
They keep you doped up with religion, and sex, and TVAnd you think you're so clever and classless and free...But you're still fucking peasants