There couldn’t be a better time to dive into the gems of the Czechoslovak New Wave, associated with directors like Jan Němec and animator Jan Švankmajer. Multiple streaming platforms have programs dedicated to this movement, produced during Czechoslovakia’s brief political thaw in the 1960s. These films embodied the innovative avant-garde spirit of FAMU, Prague’s prestigious film school. (One apocryphal anecdote claims Orson Welles said that one can’t teach directing, except maybe at FAMU.) Here are some great films to start with.
Loves of a Blonde (1965)
Most Americans likely know Miloš Forman for the Oscar-sweeping One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) or the infamous biopic The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), but the early films he made in his home country are must-see delights. In this one, a young woman, Andula (Hanna Brejchová), works at a provincial factory, where the social scene of dusty dance hall parties isn’t particularly promising, until she meets a young pianist. After he leaves, Andula decides to follow her one-night stand to the city, surprising him and his family. It’s a tender, ironic look at gender differences and the complicated economic situation young Czechs faced at the time.
No single film encapsulates this movement’s brazen spirit of experimentation like Vera Chytilová’s cinematic kaleidoscope, which often plays out like a performance piece. Two young women lure men into taking them out to dinner by posing as submissive schoolgirl stereotypes. With their subsequent anarchic antics, gorging excessively and wrecking parties, they call out society’s narrow construct of womanhood as a farce. Watch this not just for the two brilliant lead performances (from nonprofessional actresses), but also Ester Krumbachová’s fantastic costumes and Jaroslav Kucera’s inventive cinematography, with its jump cuts, abrupt color changes, and inserts of experimental animation.
The Cremator (1969)
Released one year after Warsaw Pact armies marched into Prague, stifling oppression is felt everywhere in Juraj Herz’s grotesque tale, tinged with dark absurdist humor. A sublimely chilling Rudolf Hrušinský plays Kopfkringl, a calculating crematorium manager who believes he’s bringing salvation to humankind through death. Stanislav Milota’s cinematography is another highlight, with its distorted lenses and unusual camera angles.
The artist’s portrait of her mother, painted in 1977 and reproduced on the vaporetti of Venice, may be one of the most evocative artworks in the Biennale.
A new box set of four of the Iranian director’s features offers a great opportunity to get to know his singular style.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
It’s not a “greatest hits” show, or a comprehensive survey; rather, it is a starting point to reconsider an expansive vision of Chicana/o art.
“I’m focused on contemporary Native American stories, the modern-day ups and downs of that lifestyle, but I’m not trying to do it in a traditional manner,” the award-winning filmmaker told Hyperallergic in an interview.
PLEASE SEND TO REAL LIFE: Ray Johnson Photographs reveals the “career in photography” that occupied the artist in the last three years of his life.
The Tweet comparing an ominous screen capture from the Tucker Carlson Show to one of Holzer’s Truisms is being sold as an NFT to benefit crucial organizations in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
Rapper Maykel “Osorbo” Pérez was sentenced to nine years.
Contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists Rodslen Brown, Joelle Joyner, Moira Pernambuco, Paige Pettibon, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Storme Webber are featured in this digital exhibition.
On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to undo 50 years of constitutional rights to abortion, artist Elana Mann’s “protest rattles” feel especially poignant and urgent.
This week, Title IX celebrates 50 years, the trouble with pronouns, a writer’s hilarious response to plagiarism allegations, and much more.
Since antiquity, women’s eyebrows have been sites of intense scrutiny, constantly shifting between trend cycles.