Monday, February 24, 2014

Pearls of the Deep (1966)


I wrote this brief description of Pearls of the Deep for the Cinefamily repertory theater, who are hosting 35mm screenings of the film on March 5th and 6th, 2014.

A diverse omnibus of proletarian life under communism, featuring shorts by Věra Chytilová (Daisies), Jiri Menzel (Capricious Summer), Jaromil Jireš (Valerie and Her Week Of Wonders), and Jan Němec, whose offering, The Imposters, provides an unassumingly insightful consideration of the lies we tell not only strangers, friends, and acquaintances, but more importantly, ourselves. Bringing together a startling cross-section of the Czech New Wave’s most vibrant and dangerous talents, this 1966 collection consists of a variety of adaptations from the landmark novel by provocative author Bohumil Hrabal (considered by Czechs to be one of their greatest authors of the 20th century.) The Imposters observes two aging, hospitalized men as they recall past experiences and artistic triumphs. When tragedy strikes and the realities of their youths are soon revealed, melancholy overtakes the nostalgia, with the casual narrative gathering substantial implications. The film, which begins with the line “If I wasn’t mad about something I couldn’t write a single sentence”, is indicative of Němec’s coming career triumphs, and is thus the heart of Pearls of the Deep, grounding the surrounding films’ more outwardly surreal and allegorical flights of fancy. Dirs. Jan Nemec, Vera Chytilová, Jaromil Jires, Jirí Menzel & Evald Schorm, 1966, 35mm, 105 min. [Cinefamily]

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