5 October – 12 October

GALLOWS BACCHANALIAS, FRACTIOUS FAIRY-TALES AND THE RULE OF THREE: THE CINEMA OF JURAJ JAKUBISKO

Co-presented by the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia

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 Věra 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 1968 Venice Film Festival, 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 magical 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 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.

Wednesday 5 October

7:00pm BIRDS, ORPHANS AND FOOLS
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 Zdeněk Liška, Jakubisko’s third feature, written with Karel Sidon (latterly the Chief Rabbi of the Czech Republic), 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. A work of great, fluid, unfettered exuberance at odds with the concurrent despondent mood of the Czechoslovak nation, it remains the quintessential Jakubisko film.

Restored digital print courtesy of the Slovak Film Institute.

CTEQ ANNOTATION
Birds, Orphans and Fools (1969): the Rule of Three in Juraj Jakubisko’s Exemplary Gallows Bacchanalia by Cerise Howard


8:35pm SITTING ON A BRANCH, ENJOYING MYSELF
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.

CTEQ ANNOTATION
Sitting on a Branch, Enjoying Myself (Sedím na konári a je mi dobre, Juraj Jakubisko, 1989) by Darragh O’Donoghue

Wednesday 12 October

7:00pm PERINBABA
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, notwithstanding the latter’s many terrors. Jakubisko steeped this cult classic in Slavic folklore; the breathtaking cinematography is by Dodo Šimončič.

Digital print courtesy of the Slovak Film Institute.

CTEQ ANNOTATION
Once Out of Nature: Juraj Jakubisko and Perinbaba (1985)
by David Melville


8.40pm THE PRIME OF LIFE
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 – the film’s original Slovak title translates literally as “Christ’s Years”, alluding directly to the age of 33 as signifying one’s peak – establish, through their absurdist games, that life is made up of “love, foolishness and death”.

Digital print courtesy of the Slovak Film Institute.

23 February
OPENING NIGHT 2022

2 March – 16 March
“THIS COCKEYED CARAVAN”: THE COMIC UNIVERSE OF PRESTON STURGES

23 March – 4 April
FEARLESS VULNERABILITY: THE FILMS OF JULIETTE BINOCHE

12 April – 27 April
WILDFLOWERS: DANCING, DESIRE AND FREEDOM IN THE FILMS OF GILLIAN ARMSTRONG

4 May – 18 May
MORE THAN NIGHT: THE FATAL VISION OF FRITZ LANG

25 May – 1 June
FACING MODERNITY: A TRIBUTE TO MONICA VITTI

8 June – 22 June
REACHING BEYOND THE FRAME: THE POETIC CINEMA OF ABBAS KIAROSTAMI

29 June – 13 July
HIROSHI SHIMIZU: FORGOTTEN MASTER

20 July – 3 August
MASTERPIECES OF UKRAINIAN CINEMA

24 August – 7 September
"LIFE’S PARADE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS": DOUGLAS SIRK

14 September – 28 September
OSCILLATING WILDLY: CÉLINE SCIAMMA’S INCLUSIVE CINEMA

5 October – 12 October
GALLOWS BACCHANALIAS, FRACTIOUS FAIRY-TALES AND THE RULE OF THREE: THE CINEMA OF JURAJ JAKUBISKO

19 October
AT HOME IN THE WORLD: CECIL HOLMES, ACTIVIST FILMMAKER

26 October – 2 November
QUEERING THE ARCHIVE: THE CINEMA OF BARBARA HAMMER

9 November – 23 November
THE BRINK OF LIFE: F. W. MURNAU, CINEMATIC VISIONARY

30 November
SHIFTING THE FOCUS: JOAN MICKLIN SILVER IN THE SEVENTIES

7 December – 21 December
GENRE NONCONFORMITY AND EAST SIDE STORIES: DECENTRING THE MUSICAL PART I