This wonderfully subtle comedy of provincial life is the debut film of a great director and one of the signature works of the Czech New Wave. Ivan Passer’s film concerns the dreams of two musician friends, one of whom, having left their small hometown to become successful, returns to visit the other who stayed behind to become a local music teacher.
Focussing on the humour of the ordinary and routine and stunningly shot by Miroslav Ondricek, the film shows true affection and understanding for all its characters to become that very rare thing in comedy – a work of great originality and universal acceptance. —Second Run
This leading figure of the Czech new wave co-scripted all of Milos Forman’s native films before making his directorial debut with the acclaimed medium-length study of football fanaticism, “A Boring Afternoon” (1964). Passer’s subsequent output displayed a Forman-like ability to capture the absurdity of everyday life and—as evinced by his highly-regarded first feature, “Intimate Lighting” (1965)—a sure feel for the uses of music in film. Following the Soviet invasion in 1968, Passer moved first to Western Europe, at the invitation of Carlo Ponti, and then to the US. He has made a number of modest, quirky films, the most successful of which, “Cutter’s Way” (1981), an off-beat study of a group of drifters, became something of a cult favorite.
In the 90s, Passer turned to the small screen first helming the made-for-cable “Fourth Story” (Showtime, 1991) and earning critical praise for his handling of the 1992 HBO biopic “Stalin”, starring Robert Duvall. Subsequently, he directed the… read more