Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Sun in a Net [1963]

The Slovakian film The Sun in a Net, directed by Stefan Uher, was one of the earliest products of the Czech New Wave, as also one of the most acclaimed. Yet, with its freewheeling style, urban charm, and delectable formalistic playfulness, it was rather reminiscent of the French Nouvelle Vague. The film portrayed a few days in the lives of two Bratislava youths, Fajalo (Marian Bielik), an aimless amateur photographer, and the sad-eyed fickle-minded girl Bela (Jana Belakova), with whom he has an on-and-off relationship. The two made for an interesting couple bound to have a torrid time together – she is prone to emotional outbursts, explained by her absent father and her blind mother, while he isn’t the expressive or emotive kind, and nor was his familial or personal background revealed except his fetish for human hands. When they have a fall-out, he, like a well-behaved Socialist, goes for voluntary summer work, starts a casual fling with a sassy lady and befriends a likeable aged man who, as it turns out, is Bela’s paternal grandfather. The strangely complicated teenage love story of the two, their general sense of ennui, angst and rudderlessness, and coming to terms with their hormonal desires, were brilliantly complemented by the film’s stylistic flourishes. The tone, style and spirit of the film, on lack of a better word, were singularly jazzy. The striking, expressionistic B/W photography, with all the heavy close-ups, deep focus, and marvelously captured images through canted angles and reflections, along with the minimal score that seemed to be emanating from an old radio and the discordant editing, furthered its delightfully subversive nature.

Director: Stefan Uher
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Urban Drama
Language: Slovak
Country: Slovakia (erstwhile Czechoslovakia)

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