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Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave (Pearls of the Deep, Daisies, A Report on the Party and Guests, Return of the Prodigal Son, Capricious Summer, The Joke) (Criterion Collection)

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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  • Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave (Pearls of the Deep, Daisies, A Report on the Party and Guests, Return of the Prodigal Son, Capricious Summer, The Joke) (Criterion Collection)
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  • Loves of a Blonde (The Criterion Collection)
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  • Closely Watched Trains (The Criterion Collection)
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Editorial Reviews

Of all the cinematic New Waves that broke over the world in the 1960s, the one in Czechoslovakia was among the most fruitful, fascinating, and radical. With a wicked sense of humor and a healthy streak of surrealism, a group of fearless directors--including eventual Oscar winners Milos Forman and Jan Kadar--began to use film to speak out about the hypocrisy and absurdity of the Communist state. A defining work was the 1966 omnibus film Pearls of the Deep, which introduced five of the movement's greatest voices: Vera Chytilova, Jaromil Jires, Jiri Menzel, Jan Nemec, and Evald Schorm. This series presents that title, along with five other crucial works that followed close on its heels, one from each of those filmmakers--some dazzlingly experimental, some arrestingly realistic, all singular expressions from a remarkable time and place.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ferdinand Kruta, Ivan Vyskocil, Ivana Karbanova, Jana Brejchova, Nina Diviskova
  • Directors: Evald Schorm, Jan Nemec, Jaromil Jire, Jiri Menenzel, Vera Chytilova
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Czech
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 513 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006X96P6U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,577 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 10, 2013
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I've been eagerly awaiting a collection like this, spotlighting the burst of energy & imagination that was the Czech New Wave in the 1960s, for a long time. During the short period that it flourished, before the crackdown following the Prague Spring, it allowed young directors to respond to their world & its immense changes with very personal, almost Surrealist films. The grim reality of everyday life, as well as the struggle to resist that reality imposed from without, was dissected with humor, absurdity, and often avant-garde techniques. Yet it was always rooted in centuries of Czech culture.

The first film, "Pearls of the Deep", offers five short films from the five directors whose full-length films comprise the rest of the collection. These short pieces are in a fabulist, sometimes Kafkaesque vein; the Surrealist influence is also present, as it filtered in from the cultural explosion of the 1960s worldwide. This initial anthology is a good primer: if you like what you see here, you'll probably like the full-length films. If the short films seem too bizarre, then you might want to pass on the rest.

But you'd be missing some wonderful films if you did!

"Daisies" is a startling & cheerfully anarchic story about two teenage girls living according to whim & appetite, without regard for consequences. Almost psychedelic in presentation, it lets the girls revel in their own desires, offending propriety with glee as they reject everything that the status quo has to offer as a way of life.

"A Report on the Party and Guests" is definitely in Kafka territory, as a simple picnic turns into a nightmare when authority figures appear to impose their rules over everyone & everything.
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Often overlooked by cinephiles, the Czech New Wave of the 1960s was a fascinating period of experimental filmmaking. Although no doubt influenced by the great French New Wave directors of the same period, the Czech auteurs definitely had their own unique take on life. The spectre of communism pervades, albeit subtlety.
Great release from Criterion!
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There are several Czech movies. I've been seen only Daisies, and It is great, different. This movie is worth what you pay for the whole package.
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Criterion's Eclipse series tend to be art house B films, those that have a narrower appeal or are further off the beaten path than regular Criterion Collection releases, which get the full treatment and are released in blu-ray. Some Eclipse releases are actually pretty accessible, (i.e., Late Ozu), but others are for film purists that have some particular interest in the director or the focus of the set. This set of early attempts by young Czech filmmakers in the mid-60's, not all of whom went on the have film careers, is clearly in the cinema purist camp. They are interesting, more than "good", but certainly convey a sense of a radical and experimental rethinking of cinema. Not all of the experiments were successful, but all of the films have some aspects of creativity and none are predictable. One of the most interesting, though difficult to watch, is the early feminist piece, Daises, about the adventures of a couple of decidedly un-feminine young women. Perhaps the most accessible example of 60's Czech cinema is Jiri Menzel's Closely Watched Trains (which is not in this set); you might start with that, and if you get its sense of humor, then you might appreciate the films in this group. This set includes a film made by Menzel, Capricious Summer, the most conventional and easy-to-watch film in the set.
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The only good one was "Daisies", and "Capricious Summer" was okay ... the rest were incredibly boring and incredibly stupid!
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