23.4.2018. – The first ever Days of Laughter, a film event organised by the Cinema Network and the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, is scheduled to take place 2-6 May 2018 in 22 independent cinemas across Croatia. Days of Laughter have been celebrated across the world in different way since 1998, but it is never too late to join.
The Croatian Network of Independent Cinemas thus decided to launch its very own Days of Laughter with iconic films of a national cinema known to us all – Czechoslovakian New Wave comedies, directed by legendary filmmakers Miloš Forman, Jiří Menzel and Juraj Herz. The 1960 were the golden age of Czechoslovakian cinema – gifted filmmakers took advantage of a more liberal cultural atmosphere before the Pragu Spring, in order to settle the score with the past and criticise contemporary conditions in their socialist state. The films made in the sixties have become iconic titles in our country as well.
The visitors of cinemas in our Cinema Network will get a chance to laugh at three iconic titles: Forman’s The Loves of a Blonde, Menzel’s Closely Watched Trains, and Herz’s quirky The Cremator.
The Loves of a Blonde, by the recently departed Miloš Forman, is a romantic comedy from 1965. Forman is one of the rare staples of eastern European cinema to have an enviable international career, and his films One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus and People vs. Larry Flint are award-winning American (!) films. The Loves of a Blonde was the film which, after Black Peter, brought him fame beyond the boundaries of socialist Czechoslovakia. The blonde is Andula, a young factory worker from the Czech province in a chronic lack of male population. A dance party is organised in town and all the factory girls and military reserve soldiers are invited; Andula meets Milda, a handsome musician from Prague. Convinced that she found the love of her life, she goes to Prague to pay him a visit at his home. However, she experiences an unpleasant turn of events – meeting his parents. The film was made in a small Czech community with a lot of untrained actors. It is characterised by an idiosyncratic style and charm, which earned it a best foreign language film Academy Award nomination.
Jiří Menzel’s brilliant classic Closely Watched Trains is one of the most famous and respected Czechoslovakian films, based on Bohumil Hrabal’s short story. It is set during World War II, in occupied Czech province, and focuses on the young train dispatcher Miloš, an insecure and shy young man, and his search for love and sex. And while all other train station employees pursue their daily issues, the war rages, the Germans are slowly losing, trains are blown up and they should somehow get involved in the war around them. In 1967 and 1968 the film won numerous honours, both in Czechoslovakia and globally, but the biggest is definitely the Academy Award for best foreign language film. In a poll organised by UNESCO in 1982, Closely Watched Trains was included on the list of one hundred best world cinema titles, and in 2005, again as the only Czech film, it was included on the list of one hundred all-time best films by Time magazine.
The third Days of Laughter film is the unusual horror comedy The Cremator by Juraj Herz, made in 1969. Herz’s masterpiece is one of the most successful eastern European horror films, mixed with elements of humour. Its gothic, eerie atmosphere particularly stands out, and since it is satirizes the Czechs who collaborated with the Nazis during the war, the film was immediately banned after the premiere and bunkered all until the fall of the communist regime in 1989, when it rose to the status of an icon. The protagonist Karl Koprfingl is the eccentric owner of the Prague crematorium, obsessed with the Tibetan book of the dead and body cremation. Convinced that cremation relieves the departed souls from suffering, he finds the reason and meaning of life in his job. As the Nazis rises to power, he accepts collaboration with them and slowly ‘expands his professional activity’. Fun fact: Jiří Menzel appears in a small supporting role.
The towns and cinemas to laugh in during the Days of Laughter are: Art Cinema Croatia (Rijeka), Marof Cinema (Novi Marof), Zelina Cinema (Sv. Ivan Zelina), Zlatna vrata Cinematheque (Split), Valli Cinema (Pula), Nova Gradiška Cinema, Slatina Cinema, Tuškanac Cinema (Zagreb), Ivanec Cinema, Film Club “Šibenik”, Karaman Cinema (Split), Gorica Cinema (Velika Gorica), 30 svibnja Cinema (Daruvar), Europa Cinema (Zagreb), Čakovec Centre for Culture, Kristalna kocka vedrine Culture House (Sisak), Moslavina Cinema (Kutina), Pobjeda Cinema (Metković), Gaj Cinema (Varaždin), Urania Cinema (Osijek), POP UP Cinema Samobor and Kinematografi Dubrovnik.
Details about the schedule of the first Days of Laughter are available on the website of Facebook pages of each cinema taking part in the event.
See you at the cinema, it’s better at the cinema! // Uvidíme se v kině, je to lepší!