Case for the New Hangman
Location la: Redstone Theater
Presented by the Czech Center New York
Czechoslovakia. Dir. Pavel Juracek. 1969, 102 mins. DCP. With Lubomir Kostelka, Klara Jernekova, Milena Zahrynowska. In Czech with English subtitles. New York premiere of the restoration. This lost classic of the Czech New Wave is a hallucinogenic swirl of Gulliver’s Travels, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Kafkaesque surrealism. The freewheeling anti-narrative follows the misadventures of a modern-day Lemuel Gulliver who, after crashing his car, embarks on foot on a nightmarish odyssey that lands him in a strange land where citizens adhere to nonsensical laws and its rulers block out the sun. The satirical allegory was not lost on Czechoslovakia’s Communist government, which banned the film “forever” and effectively ended director Juracek’s career. Nevertheless, this stands as one of the most audacious and visually inventive works to emerge from the short-lived but remarkably fertile Prague Spring.
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