The White Dove (1960)
Katerina Irmanovová, Anna Pitasová, Karel Smyczek
Josef Kilián (1963)
Pavel Jurácek, Jan Schmidt
Pavel Bartl, Pavel Silhánek, Stanislav Michler
Buy The White Dove & Josef Kilián: DVD
Second Run has continued it’s love of 60s Czechoslovakian New Wave cinema with films by two of it’s key players. The people in question are František Vláčil and Pavel Jurácek. Vláčil would later direct what is often considered the greatest Czech film ever made Marketa Lazarová and Jurácek is more well known as a writer for his screenplays for Ikarie XB-1 and Daisies. All of these films are available from Second Run and all are highly recommended.
The first film is The White Dove. It’s a very simple story it’s about a boy who nurses a dove after he injures it so it can return back home. It contrasts his story and the girl Susanne waiting for it’s return to his home in the Baltics. There really is much more to that story than that, it’s only slightly over an hour. It exceeds its simplistic story which wonderful cinematic touches throughout. It’s compared to Kes in the press notes but it’s a very strange comparison cause it has tons of surrealistic touches, which is the complete opposite of Ken Loach’s great film. It’s photography is truly stunning and leaves indelible marks on the viewer’s memory, it won award for it’s cinematographer Jan Curík who would later shoot Valerie and Her Week of Wonders and The Joke.
Jan Curík also shot the other film on the disc Josef Kilián. It’s directed by Pavel Jurácek and Jan Schmidt and is only slightly over half an hour. It’s obviously inspired by Kafka and it’s no coincidence that the year the film came out 1963 was the same year that there was a large conference which including a cultural reappraisal of Kafka’s work. It was later “banned forever” after the 1968 Soviet invasion.
It’s a Kafkaesque nightmare of bureaucracy. A young man goes to a cat rental place to rent a cat for a day (best idea ever for non cat owners) but when he comes back to return the cat. He then enters into a world of bureaucracy to try to solve his issue. There is a truly stunning shot of him against a wall of filing cabinets, which is reminiscent of the famous un-filmed deleted scene of Brazil, which was used for the criterion cover. It has cats and has a labyrinth of surreal bureaucracy so ticks 2 important cinematic boxes for me.
So overall another great release from Second Run and hopefully more hidden Czech gems will come in the near future. According to the booklet Karel Zeman’s A Jester’s Tale will be come out soon which Pavel Jurácek also wrote and hopefully The Joke comes out so I can see it.