Loves of a Blonde (The Criterion Collection)
The Criterion Collection
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With sixteen women to each man, the odds are against Andula in her desperate search for love-that is, until a rakish piano player visits her small factory town and temporarily eases her longings. A tender and humorous look at Andula's journey, from the first pangs of romance to its inevitable disappointments, Loves of a Blonde (Lásky jedné plavovlásky) immediately became a classic of the Czech New Wave and earned Milos Forman the first of his Academy Award® nominations.
- Video interview with director Milos Forman
- Deleted scene
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The film is about a young factory girl who one day during a town-celebration meets a young musician. The two spend a night together,
and the girl (who happens to be very naïve and good natured) falls for the guy. Unfortunately, the guy leaves with his band for Prague the following morning. The girl soon-afterwards follows him...and awkward together with life learning "situations" ensue. I think the best and most funny part about this film are the three "idiotic" and drunk soldiers at the town-party who try to pick-up three girls sitting opposite their table...
LOVES OF A BLONDE is a bittersweet comedy, in fact less sweet than bitter, relating the anxieties of the young women of an industrial small town. These girls are desperately looking for the man of their dreams while the male population of the town doesn't exceed the tenth of the female number. So when Andula is seduced by the pianist of a Praguan band and is invited to come to his place if she ever comes to the Czechoslovakian capital, she doesn't hesitate. Needless to say that the pianist will be a little annoyed when Andula knocks at his parents's door in the middle of the night.
So one smiles a lot during LOVES OF A BLONDE, particularly at the ball scene involving middle-aged reservists soldiers who can't believe their eyes in front of the numerous women available for dancing. One smiles a little less as an almost documentary camera lingers on the girl's faces waiting to be invited for a dance. Tragedy is never far away in this movie you can not disregard if you're interested in the revival of european cinema during the 60's.
The bonus features include a deleted scene and a recent video interview of Milos Forman. Sound and images superb even if a vertical black line is visible during the first minutes of the film.
A DVD zone Adam and Evas.
1. English subtitles in this copy are terrible (it's difficult to read them).
2. Quality of this copy is not good (the picture is not so clear and not so sharp)
3. Several minutes of the original movie is missing in this copy (I wonder why)Loves of a Blonde - Criterion Collection
And awful, in a desperate sort of way, because Forman let's us see the lives all these people live in a Communist society that is petty, officious and incompetent. We can smile at a lecture an older woman gives the young factory girls about maintaining their honor and dignity with boys; we can even smile when two young leaders stand up and call for a vote to dedicate all of them to this idea; and we can smile when every girl in the room raises her hand to vote in favor, none against and none abstaining. Then we realize it might not be a good idea to snicker at a vote in favor of honor when a boss thinks it would be a good idea.
There are two long set pieces in the movie that are terrific. The first is a dance in town, held by officials so that the soldiers can meet the girls. We move around with the camera, listening in to the appalled girls as they really see these desperate, coarse guys, and listening to the guys as they eye the girls, drink for courage and, in one case, surreptitiously remove a wedding ring and then dropping it on the floor for all to see. There's that safe, chirpy dance music...the angling to get a girl to take a walk in the woods...the possibility that the bored girl will agree. The second set piece is in Milda's apartment in Prague. Andula has arrived unannounced. Milda is playing with the band at a nightspot and there are only Milda's parents to welcome her. And welcome they don't. They've heard nothing about her. It's clear Milda is in for a surprise when he gets home that night. Milda's mother is not someone you'd want for a mother-in-law. Milda's father is more realistic but not exactly comforting. Their apartment is a living space of ancient appliances, chipped paint and doilies. The nagging opinions of the mother and the exasperated gruffness from the father make us smile. Of course, they have the opposite effect on Andula, who now is close to tears. Forman seems to be quietly pointing out to us what living in Communist Czechoslovakia has come to mean. Poor Andula. Will she have a happy future with Milda? Or will she return to Zruc...wiser, perhaps, but with nothing better ahead for her. Watch the movie and hope for the best. Andula is a nice person.
Loves of a Blonde is so poignant and sweet it hurts a little. Forman used mainly non-actors for most the roles and he had a genius for either eliminating their self-consciousness or for making it work in the context of the story. The movie at the basic level of story-telling is effective because the people, from Andula to the bit parts of people at the dance, look and act like people who aren't acting. We wind up liking most of them and feeling indulgent toward the rest.
The Communist regime eventually caught on to the picture of life in Czechoslovakia which Forman presented with such apparent good humor in Loves of a Blonde and The Firemen's Ball (Criterion Collection). It was happy to see Forman leave the country during the crackdown in 1968. Anyone who thinks Forman, when he came to America, lost his subversive sympathy for people who are at the mercy of institutions and governments needs to watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,Ragtime or The People vs. Larry Flynt.
The Criterion release looks just fine. There is a video interview with Forman that was made in 2001.
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