An empathic look at the alienation of Czech youth, Forman’s first fiction feature depicts the miserable title character at his day job and after work when he clashes with his old-fashioned father and pines for a classmate. Employing nonprofessional actors, improvisation, and vérité camera work, as well as a gently ironic, antiauthoritarian tone, the film exhibits the qualities that would place Forman at the forefront of the Czech New Wave and anticipates his future success on the 1970s Hollywood auteur scene. –AFI
Forman grew up in a small town near Prague. Orphaned when his parents, a Jewish professor and a Protestant housewife, died in Nazi concentration camps, he was reared by two uncles and family friends. In the mid-1950s Forman studied at the film school of the University of Prague. Upon graduating he wrote two screenplays, the first of which, Nechte to na mn (“Leave It to Me”), was filmed in 1955 by noted Czech director Martin Fri. Forman in 1957 was himself an assistant director on the second of these screenplays, a situation comedy entitled Stenata (“The Puppies”).
Throughout the late 1950s and early ‘60s Forman acted as either writer or assistant director on other films. He directed his first major productions in 1963: Cerný Petr (Black Peter) and Konkurs (Talent Competition). These films had great success both domestically and on the international festival circuit, and Forman was hailed as a major talent of the Czech New Wave. His early films… read more
I'm sure this was as good as, if not better than, Loves of a Blonde; unfortunately, the only copy I could procure only had about 2/3 of the dialogue translated, so I missed out on a lot of what makes Forman's films so enjoyable. A lot of the film seemed similar to LOAB: teens awkwardly socializing and arguing with their parents, the big town dance, etc.
I wasn't touched by BLACK PETER as much as I was by LOVES OF A BLONDE and THE FIREMEN'S BALL, Milos Forman's next Czech films. I had the impression that the film was more a succession of little scenes than a film as a whole. Petr at the beach, Petr at the ballroom, Petr at the store and Petr at home could have been four interesting short films. A DVD zone completists.