Thursday, 13 February
THE EAR 1970 (Ucho) Directed by Karel Kachyňa 94 minutes In Czech with English subtitles
Truly eerie film from Czechoslovakia, considered one of the all-time masterpieces from the golden '68 era. This riveting cautionary tale focuses on a government official who obviously has been doing a lot of dirty political work and has become cynical and bitter. His wife can't handle things either, and she's drinking away her shattered dreams. They have developed a marriage of torment, where love is no longer possible. The movie kicks in when they arrive home one night and find their home has been broken into. Their spare house keys are missing, and the phone is dead. They begin to suspect that he had said something wrong at a meeting, and they are under surveillance by their own government. As the evening continues their lives are gripped by paranoia.
Wow, this is a harrowing and explosive film on so many levels. Just the theme of surveillance makes this flick totally relevant still today. It was banned once it was finished, locked away in limbo for twenty years, and never seen by the public until 1989. And you can see why. First off, it depicts political elites as they really are - scoundrels who compromise on their beliefs just to get ahead. But what is beautiful about this flick is its moody feeling of dread. It wonderfully captures how repressive, powerful governments can seep into personal lives and utterly destroy them. But let's be clear: at the time this was made, this situation was happening not only in the Soviet East Bloc, but also here in the West. If you are interested in an example, just check out the sad life of the American actress Jean Seberg. The Ear was later remade, perhaps, by Francis Ford Coppola as The Conversation.
The key film from the 60s about the dark side of giving up your right to privacy.
This will be a high-definition screening
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