Prague: The Restless Heart of Europe

    • Vera Chytilova
    • Czech Republic
    • 1985
    • 59 min
    • Top 10

    With sparse narration and an intense collage of arresting images, Věra Chytilová’s homage to Prague captures the spirit of the Czech capital in exquisitely intimate detail. Jerkily juxtaposing panoramic vistas with meticulous close-ups in a way that’s both fascinating and disquieting, Chytilová vividly evokes the turbulent ebbs and flows of the city’s history with oblique visual meditations on its art and architecture. She intersperses these with footage of 20th-century Prague, an edgy place that’s constantly being driven onward by the ghosts of a tumultuous past.

    As you would expect from a director who was among the most avant-garde of the Czech New Wave, there are plenty of experimental flourishes that catch the eye. One particularly memorable sequence, for example, brilliantly captures the gaudy spectacle of a choreographed communist sports gala. The film’s ambitious visual elements are deftly complemented by Michal Kocáb’s impressive score, which effortlessly chronicles the city’s evolution through a variety of musical styles, ranging from baroque classical to prog-rock.

    Credits

    • 59 min
    • color
    • 35mm
    • Spoken languages: Czech
    • Subtitles in: English
    Director
    Vera Chytilova
    Production
    Karel Kvitek for Kratky Film Praha
    Cinematography
    Jan Malíř
    Editing
    Alois Fisárek
    Music
    Alois Fisárek, Michael Kocáb

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