Archive for November 28th, 2010

(by Joel)

Loves of a Blonde, Czechoslovakia,1965, dir. Milos Forman

Starring Hana Brejchová, Vladimír Pucholt

Story: A young woman sleeps with a charming young pianist, but when she pursues him to Prague, she discovers that he did not take their romance as seriously as she did.

The title, like so much else in Milos Forman’s second feature, is gently ironic. With its plural “Loves,” it suggests a worldly figure, a free-spirited sixties girl who rounds up loves, and lovers, with a sense of carefree fun. At the same time, “a Blonde” implies a symbolic woman more than an actual one, probably a silly girl who falls in love and breaks hearts without knowing her own power and/or foolishness. Well, the blonde in Loves of a Blonde, Andula (Hana Brejchová), is rather foolish. And in the course of the movie, she does upset and befuddle at least one boyfriend, by recoiling from him without telling him why. Yet at film’s end, she has had only one real lover, and it was her heart that was broken, not his. Most importantly, Andula is not Julie Christie sent to Prague – not a swinger, but a dreamer, a naïve young woman who is not responding to a new freedom but reacting to a lack thereof. Just as the Prague Spring would flourish for a brief period, before Soviet tanks re-imposed a totalitarian regime for another two decades, so Andula’s season of hope is short. When we last see her, she is back in the factory toiling away, sad and quite alone. Though Loves of a Blonde is a comedy, and a very funny one, at its core is a tragic (albeit still romantic) sense of life.


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(Japan 1962 37 min)

Directors Yusaku Sakamoto, Eiichi Yamamoto; Writer Osamu Tezuka; Producer Osamu Tezuka; Animator Gisaburo Sugii

by Stephen Russell-Gebbett

Given that animation is the creation of the illusion of movement or life from ‘inanimate’ material, is it any wonder that so many animated films are about objects coming to life? Sometimes sculptures, sometimes paintings or toys. In Story of a Street Corner it is posters on a wall.

Osamu Tezuka has a ball breathing his spirit into their simple yet timelessly stylish designs. In one advert a man splashes water onto his face only to wash it clean off . In another a classic Toulouse Lautrec scene turns raucous. It is all ever so charming, not least the budding romance between a violinist and a pretty pianist that passes ghostlike through the prisons of their paper frames.

Above street level another story is unfolding. A young girl has dropped her blue toy bear out of her bedroom window and it lays out of reach in the gutter. Every night she looks down mournfully and throws down a piece of cheese for it to eat, a piece of cheese which is surreptitiously spirited away by a mouse that lives nearby.


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