Director Juraj Herz was born on 4 September 1934 in Kežmarok, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). Interestingly, acclaimed Czech animator Jan Švankmajer was born on that very day. Although Herz attended the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) with directors such as Jaromil Jireš, Jiří Menzel, Evald Schorm and Věra Chytilová, he studied in the puppetry department with Švankmajer. The other directors listed above, all of whom have become poster children for the Czechoslovak New Wave, were enrolled in the Filmová a Televizní Fakulta Akademie Múzkých Umění v Praze (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague). In his interview with Ivana Košuličová, Herz suggests that he was looked down upon and excluded from the movement because he was considered “a puppet artist, not a film director”.
Today, Herz remains on the margins of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Monumental texts on the movement, such as Peter Hames’ The Czechoslovak New Wave and Antonín J. Liehm’s… read more
I really wanted to like this one, and I did, but not as much as I liked The Cremator. There's too much in some places and too little in others. For starters there are plenty of sumptuous expressionistic compositions and vivid camerawork, but there's also an overeliance on the soundtrack. There were some scenes that would have been so much more effective with just silence. Second, it's just not as searing nor does it leave as strong an impression as The Cremator; the ending is too tidy. It never fully went where it should have. But damn, Iva Janzurova's dual performance. Talk about great acting. She rivals Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers here. Overall this is good, but not great.
When Federico Fellini, arguing with a diehard neo-realist about the ending of Il bidone (What, it was demanded, was a troupe of seemingly medieval