Section: Special: Fraternal Kiss

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A Case for the New Hangman

Pavel Juráček
ČSSR, 1969, 106 Min

A cutting variation of Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", this film leads its protagonist to the strange country of Balnibari, a realm that provides reflection on the absurd realities of totalitarian rule. No longer interested in the truth, the inhabitants prefer to follow bizarre rules and live a life of self-delusion.

Národní filmový archiv

The odd rules and laws of Balnibarbi, such as weekly ban on speaking, were enacted "up above", by which the locals mean the King, who lives in Laputa, the mysterious capital city located on a flying island. Gulliver manages to reach the capital only to find that the King has long departed. Unwilling to believe this news, the inhabitants of Balnibarbi sentence Gulliver to death. Rich in allusions to the absurdities of life in an occupied country, the film was produced during a short relaxation of censorship which occurred in socialist Czechoslovakia in the late sixties yet banned after only a handful of screenings. Its sarcasm, almost surreal playfulness and dark humour were regarded as hostile by the post-Prague Spring authorities, with director Pavel Juráček forbidden from shooting further films and subsequently emigrating. CF

DCP | s/w / b/w
Pavel Juráček
Jan Kališ
František Fabián
Miroslav Hájek
Milan Nejedlý
Luboš Fišer
Lubomír Kostelka, Pavel Landovský, Klára Jerneková, Milena Zahrynowská, Luděk Kopřiva, Slávka Budínová, Pavel Bošek, Miroslav Macháček, Věra Ferbasová, Eduard Dubský, Jiřina Jirásková, Jiří Hálek, Radovan Lukavský, Nataša Gollová, Jiří Hrzán
Jan Balzer
Filmové Studio Barrandov
Národní filmový archiv
Malešická 12
13000 Praha 3
Czech Republic

Pavel Juráček - born in 1935, died in 1989 in Czechoslovakia. He studied at the FAMU in Prague and, like Miloš Forman or Jiří Menzel, was an exponent of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Trademarks of the movement are long unscripted dialogues, dark and absurd humour, and the casting of non-professional actors.


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