Saturday, 25 January 2014
Intimate Lighting 
Ivan Passer was a co-writer for 2 of the 3 Czech features that Forman made – the delightful comedy Loves of a Blonde and the masterful satire The Firemen’s Ball, and directed just 1 film, Intimate Lighting, before having to defect from Czechoslovakia – yet, these Czech New Wave gems were enough to make him a major figure in the movement. Contrary to the deeply political nature of the short-lived movement’s most renowned products, this delectable, charming, humorous and breezy little film captured the lazy elegance of rustic life, and Passer deftly suffused it with simplicity, idiosyncrasy and whimsical fun. The plot, which is skeletal at best, is about the reunion of two friends at a bucolic setting. Bambas (Karel Blažek) is a violinist at the local philharmonic. The first scene, showing a bunch of gaggling elderly men preparing for an important performance, immediately caught attention with its subversive humour and quick wit, and the same was sustained with effortless ease throughout its compact run-time. Bambas, who resides with his father (Jan Vostrčil) who too dabbles on the violin, albeit not with as much adroitness as his son would prefer, mother and plump wife, is given a visit to their countryside house from Prague by his old cellist friend Petr (Zdeněk Bezušek) and his young and beautiful fiancée (Věra Křesadlová). The urban-rural divide formed for a sharp metaphor on success and failure, and the ensuing underhanded social commentary was subtly but brilliantly touched upon through wryly funny sequences and rambling conversations. Consequently, despite some cynical undertones, the film, on surface, was light-hearted, affectionate, amusing, playful and melancholic.
Director: Ivan Passer
Genre: Comedy/Rural Comedy
Country: Czech Republic (erstwhile Czechoslovakia)