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Archive for August 16th, 2013

Larks 1

by Allan Fish

(Czechoslovakia 1969 94m) DVD2

Aka. Skrivánci na niti

Enjoy work, enjoy life!

p  Karel Kochman  d  Jiri Menzel  w  Bohumil Hrabal, Jiri Menzel  novel  Bohumil Hrabal  ph  Jaromir Sofr  ed  Josef Lojik  m  Jiri Sust

Rudolf Hrusinsky (Union trustee), Vlastimil Brodsky (Professor), Vaclav Neckar (Pavel), Jitka Zelenohorska (Jitka), Jaroslav Satoransky (Angel, the guard), Vladimir Smeral (minister), Ferdinand Kruta (Kudla), Frantisek Rehák (Drobocek), Eugen Jegorov (saxophonist), Nada Urbánková (Lenka), Jirina Stepnickova (Pavel’s mother),

Of all the films banned by the authorities after the Prague Spring was turned into instant winter by the Soviet tanks in 1968, Jiri Menzel’s Larks on a String has come to be the most emblematic of the ‘lost’ films.  It didn’t get an official showing until 1990, held back even further than the Soviet hot potatoes that were released in the soon to be ex-USSR under Gorbachev’s Glasnost thaw.  Discussing when it was really first seen, though, is problematic.  There have been rumours of public showings all the way back to 1969 when it was shelved, and it was one of three films – along with Jasny’s All My Good Countrymen and Jires’ The Joke – to do the rounds on illegal VHS tapes in the 1980s.  When in the 1980s Czech film expert Peter Hames asked Jiri Menzel how he might see the film, he told him to look in hairdressers shops.  One imagines it being sold from under the counter, like Soho video shops who stocked US VHSs of A Clockwork Orange or the video nasties banned by Thatcher’s fun police.  (more…)

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