October 7 – October 14


The irrepressible Juraj Jakubisko (1938-) represents the baroque vanguard of the Czechoslovak New Wave’s Slovak contingent.

After assisting on early works by fellow students Jaromil Jireš and Vera Chytilová at Prague’s FAMU film school, Jakubisko soon made his own mark with a succession of acclaimed, flamboyant and provocative films which saw him dubbed “the Slovak Fellini” at the Venice Film Festival of 1968, but which also earnt him the sustained wrath of his nation’s censors, with three of his four 1960s features shelved until after 1989’s Velvet Revolution, including the extraordinary Birds, Orphans and Fools that opens this season. His similarly exuberant contemporary Elo Havetta said: “Jakubisko was the first to show that folklore is something more than songs and dances – a living tradition.” Moreover, his ludic, carnivalesque cinema – a clear influence on latter-day FAMU alumnus Emir Kusturica – is also steeped in magic realism, symbolism and intertextuality and has habitually been highly engaged with the often-precarious times in which it was made.

This season of imported prints principally focuses on the director’s key short and feature-length works from the 1960s to the close of the 1980s, which typically position their lead characters in manic, triangular relationships amid trying times, but also includes the sumptuous fairy tale Perinbaba starring Giulietta Masina, emphasising Jakubisko’s great affinity with Federico Fellini, on- and off-screen.

Presented with

Czech & Slovak Film Festival

October 7

Juraj Jakubisko (1969) 78 mins – Unclassified 15+

Shot under highly straitened circumstances, and featuring astonishing cinematography from Igor Luther and a score by the great Zdenek Liška, Jakubisko’s third feature is a mosaic-like parable set in an undefined space and time. Nonetheless, its crazy world without ideals, and filled with violence, cynicism and hopelessness, surely references Czechoslovakia after August 1968. Digital restoration.

Digital print courtesy of the Slovak FilmInstitute.

Preceded by

The Red Cross Drummer
Juraj Jakubisko (1977) 13 mins – Unclassified 15+.

This hallucinatory short promotional film for the Czechoslovak Red Cross is amongst its director’s most radical works.

35mm print courtesy of the Slovak Film Institute

Juraj Jakubisko (1989) 110 mins – Unclassified 15+

Jakubisko’s dreamlike, tragicomic final film to be made under the failing communist regime (albeit a West German co-production) dared to explicitly tackle – and, moreover, burlesque – the Stalinist era. Aesthetically and thematically echoing Birds, Orphans and Fools from 20 years prior, and with glorious cinematography from Laco Kraus, it concerns another trio of outsiders who unite to establish an unorthodox household and keep at bay the world’s madness – here, in the chaotic immediate aftermath of World War II, in an abandoned Jewish bakery.

Digital print courtesy of the Slovak Film Institute.

October 14

Juraj Jakubisko (1985) 89 mins – Unclassified 15+

This beautiful adaptation of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale has become a staple of Slovak Christmases, notwithstanding its plentiful adult content, horrific elements and that it was only made because its director was forbidden from producing more personal projects. Giulietta Masina shines as Perinbaba, aka “Lady Winter”, the “Feather Fairy”, in this tale of a young boy whose life she saved who wishes to leave her enchanted domain for the real world, despite the latter’s many terrors. Jakubisko steeped this cult classic in Slavic folklore; the breathtaking cinematography is by Dodo Šimoncic.

Digital print courtesy of the Slovak Film Institute.

Juraj Jakubisko (1967) 95 mins – Unclassified 15+

Abetted by the brilliant Igor Luther’s grainy, overexposed black-and-white cinematography, Jakubisko’s inventive, existential, semi-autobiographical debut feature “signaled not only the birth of an exceptional talent, but also the birth of a Slovak style” (Mira and Antonín J. Liehm). Two brothers in their early 30s establish, through their absurdist games, that life is made up of “love, foolishness and death”.

Digital print courtesy of the Slovak Film Institute.

Preceded by

Waiting for Godot
Juraj Jakubisko (1966) 29 mins – Unclassified 15 +.
Wholly set around a party, Jakubisko’s Godardian graduation film is supremely evocative of its time.

Digital print courtesy of the National Film Archive in Prague.