Tuesday, June 10, 2014

474. Hori, ma panenko

Hori, ma panenko
The Firemen's Ball
1967
Directed by Milos Forman










So here is yet another Czech film. I am not quite sure why Czech movies don't seem to exist in The Book outside of 1967, but that is a question for another time.  Amazingly, this time we are dealing with a Czech comedy.  I am saying this is amazing since all of the recent foreign movies have ranged from confusingly dry to downright depressing.  Let's see if this one can actually make me laugh.

I had tried to watch this film before but had a hard time finding it anywhere.  Now there seems to be an abundance of copies online, just none with English subtitles.  I was forced to download a transcript of the English subtitles and read along as the film progressed.  As you can imagine, this is not the ideal way to view a movie, particularly a comedy.  So although I did not crack a smile once throughout the duration of this film, I won't fault the movie for that and will blame the lack of humor on my horrible process of watching it. That's fair, right?

Anyway, this film takes place during the annual Firemen's Ball.  The laughs (I am guessing here) come from the fact that everything goes wrong during the event.  Most notably, people keep stealing raffle items and the beauty pageant is a complete disaster (honestly, sometimes I feel like watching the films in the 1001 Book is an exercise in restraint for feminists).

I can see why this film is significant since there are quite a few slams to communism that ultimately resulted in the movie being banned in Czechoslovakia.  Still, it was kind of a miss for me; I found it neither funny nor entertaining.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

The cast was made up mostly of unprofessional actors.

Banned in 1968.

One of Roger Ebert's Great Movies.

8 comments:

  1. Hi again..
    Reading a script alongside watching.. that is one tough way to watch a film! So well done for coping as well as you did.. I can easily see how that would destroy any humour it had - as well as making the whole process a chore.
    Shame.. because I quite liked it.. not brilliant , not a top 10, but decidedly a 'Thank you list for making we watch, I'm very glad I did' film. The form of humour is, perhaps a little dated (hey, that's what 45 years passing means), but I found it .. mildly... amusing, but enjoyable..
    The 1967 thing.. I assume is that would be a high spot for Czech film (and other art forms, especially literature) because that would be at the the height of Dubcek's liberalisation.. when writers, film makers were allowed to express things and people felt the hope of the Prague spring.. Before the Soviet invasion.
    (Have you either read or seen the movie'Unbearable lightness of being? Or any other Kundera?)

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    1. I haven't seen that; do you recommend it? And great insight; I'll bet you're right.

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  2. Well, I really liked it as a film.
    It is a bit 'Hollywoodised' but not to death.
    The book is about 50/50 story and philosophising/pondering on stuff.. and all the latter has been pruned out.. but it still makes a good film.

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  3. It' an utterly brilliant film but I'm afraid you will never be able to understand it unless you are czech:-) as the funniest bit is the way the people talk and act, how silly and absurd yet serious they are..check it out anyway, I'm sure it's downlodable with english subtitles, I have done it

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  4. You really owe yourself to watch this with proper subtitles. I found this hilariously funny as the entire party fall apart.
    Ray gave the explanation for why there are suddenly so many Czech films in this period. Another reason was that there was not funding or content limits for Czech films. They could do whatever they felt like without annoying constraint and so quite a few gems came out of it. Alas, it did not last...

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  5. Haha I have been properly shamed for my subtitle malpractice. I will try again!

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