Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Film: "Romeo, Juliet, and Darkness" (1960), 92 min.

The Restless Heart of Europe – a Czech Film Series at UT

Tue, February 15, 2011 | GRG 102 Geography building, corner of 24th and Whitis.

7:00 PM


 FEBRUARY 15: Romeo, Juliet, and Darkness (1960), 92 min.

  • Set in German-occupied Prague, this is a story about moral choices in times of extraordinary brutality.  When Pavel hides Jewish Hanka romance blossoms, a love that is threatened by the fear and cowardice of outsiders.  Released in 1960, the film is both a historical tale and a commentary on the place of individual responsibility in the face of power.    

 FEBRUARY 22: Faust/ Lekce Faust (orig.) Jan Švankmajer (1994), 89 min.

  • A very free adaptation of Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus', Goethe's 'Faust' and various other treatments of the old legend of the man who sold his soul to the devil. Svankmajer's Faust is a nondescript man who, after being lured by a strange map into a sinister puppet theatre, finds himself immersed in an indescribably weird version of the play, blending live actors, clay model animation and giant puppets. 

 MARCH 1: Champions /Mistři (orig.), Marek Najbrt, (2004), 83 min.

  • Ice hockey is a Czech national obsession, and the country's victory over Russia in the 1969 World Championships, the year following the Soviet invasion, is a celebrated moment in its history. In Marek Najbrt's black comedy, the heroic exploits take place only on a black and white TV screen as a group of representative misfits gather and watch the game in a desolate village on the Czech border.                                             

 MARCH 8: About the Shoes (2007), 13 min. + Banana Kids (2009), 63 min. NOTE: screening on this day will take place in PAI 4.42 (@ 7pm)


About the Shoes/ O Topánki (orig.) Rozálie Kohoutová

  • The author goes to a Romani ghetto in Eastern Slovakia to film a documentary about a kindergarten for Romani children. One little girl, Laura, can’t go to the kindergarten because she has no shoes. The author buys the shoes for her and watches what will happen then. The film is about our different attitudes to help, to children, and to education.

Bananas Kids/ Banánové děti (orig.) Martin Ryšavý 

  • The main theme is based on comparisons of life stories of several child heroes, or several Vietnamese families settled in the Czech Republic. Whereas the adults spend most of their time working, speak Czech badly and feel homesick, their kids learn Czech at school, become accustomed to the Czech environment more quickly, speak Czech better than Vietnamese and have only a weak relation to their country. Vietnamese kids then become a common part of the children’s collective in the Czech Republic. In general the film mainly shows the life of people from two very different cultures and the pace of the assimilation processes with an emphasis on expressing the differences in traditional ways of family common life and comparing value scales.

 MARCH 22: A Trial In Prague (2000), 84 min.

  • This documentary film explores postwar anti-Semitism in Czechoslovakia through the story of the Slánský Trial, a 1952 show trial of 14 communist officials, 11 of whom were identified as “of Jewish origin.”  Through interviews with the families of the defendants, this film is an extraordinary portrait of a generation of young communists, the allure of ideology, and the dangers of political ambitions in Stalinist Eastern Europe. 

MARCH 29: Walking Too Fast (2009), 146 min.

  • A thriller set in 1982 Czechoslovakia, Walking Too Fast is an utterly unsentimental look at one man's moral corruption, set amid the broader malaise of communist normalization. The Czech title is Pouta — handcuffs. It's also a play on words because it can refer to relationships, binds, ties.

 APRIL 5: Citizen Havel Is Rolling Barrels/ Občan Havel přikuluje (orig.) Adam a Jan Novák (2009), 72 min.

  • In 1974, the then banned playwright Václav Havel found a job as a brewery hand so that he would not be accused of social parasitism. He ended up rolling barrels and filtering beer for nearly a year even though he drove a Mercedes to work. His new experiences, described in the film by Arnošt Šerkézy, his boxer buddy from the lager cellar, started him on a new way of writing. He dashed off his first autobiographical - and arguably his best - play, Audience, in a single night. The film relates stories of the genesis, the productions and the cultural reverberations of Havel’s influential one-act.

 APRIL 12: The Shop on Main Street (1965), 125 min.

  • Set in a small town in Slovakia during World War II, this film investigates questions of collaboration and resistance under totalitarian rule.  This is the story of Tono, an underemployed carpenter, and his ‘career’ as the Aryanizer of a store belonging to the elderly, Jewish Rozalie Lautmann.  Although the filmmakers inspired audiences to reflect on the limits of individual responsibility in Communist Czechoslovakia, The Shop on Main Street raises questions that we continue to ask ourselves today:  Why do ordinary people become participants in the dispossession, persecution, and murder of their neighbors? 

APRIL 19: The Plastic People of the Universe, Jana Chytilová (2001) 74 min.

  • Formed in 1968, following the Soviet invasion of their beloved Czechoslovakia, the rock band, 'The Plastic People of the Universe' were inspired by American music banned by the Communist dictators including The Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and The Doors. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Czechoslovakian government banned 'The Plastic People' from performing and the group conducted a series of clandestine engagements (including play dates in barns and weddings) in defiance of the government restrictions. The band and their fans endured endless and often violent harassment by Czechoslovakian police and the musicians were eventually imprisoned. Following the restoration of democracy in Prague, however, the group was hailed by the new Czech Republic government and by the international music scene for its remarkable courage in keeping the rock sound alive despite the pressures of Communist tyranny.

 APRIL 26: In the Attic/Na půdě  Jan Bárta (2009), 76 min. A family film - we are cordially welcoming the kids of our staff, faculty, students and others.

  • In an attic full of discarded junk, a pretty doll called Buttercup lives in an old trunk together with her friends, the marionette Prince Charming, lazy Teddy Bear and the plasticine creature Schubert. When Buttercup is snatched and taken off to the Land of Evil, her pals set out to rescue her.

 All movies are free and have English subtitles!

 For more information see our website:

Or contact one of the organizers:

Libuše Heczková (

Tatjana Lichtenstein (

Filip Zachoval (

More details on the films will be sent out as they approach.

Supported by the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, and the Department of History.

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