Kinoeye: New perspectives on European film

Vol 3
 Issue 5 
10 May

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Jan Svankmajer's Otesanek (Little Otik, 2000) KINOEYE ON SCREEN
Czech horror and fantasy film
A touring season in the US

A season of Czech horror films curated by Kinoeye's Horror Editor, Steven Jay Schneider will be playing at New York's American Museum of the Moving Image (AMMI) from 17 May 2003 and then travelling to other US cities throughout the year.

Unless otherwise stated, all films take place at the American Museum of the Moving Image (AMMI) at 35 Avenue and 36 Street in Astoria, NYC.

Václav Vorlíček's Kdo chce zabít Jessii?
(Who Killed Jessie?, 1966)

6.30pm, Sunday 11 May

NYU's Cantor Film Center
36 East 8th St,
Tel: 212-998-4100

A surrealistic sci-fi comedy about an unhappily married scientist couple. While the henpecked husband fantasizes about the voluptuous Jessie from a comic strip, his domineering wife tries her new experiment on him: a serum that dispels the unpleasant parts of dreams. But there's a side-effect... whatever escapes the dreamer's mind becomes reality. Shot in beautiful b&w Cinemascope, with an anarchistic, almost slapstick atmosphere.

Introduced by series curator Steven Jay Schneider.

Karel Kachyňa's Ucho (The Ear, 1970)

2.00pm, Saturday 17 May

Finding their house bugged and their power and phone lines down, a couple worries about the Communist authorities in this chilling cross between 1984 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The film was banned for nearly two decades.

Jiří Barta's Krysař (The Pied Piper, 1986)

4.15pm, Saturday 17 May

One of the most ambitious projects in Czech animation history. Barta was inspired by a German legend to create this expressionistic visual metaphor for the fall of a materialistic society. The medieval drama unfolds through an assortment of techniques, including wooden puppets, oil paintings, and footage of live rats.

Followed by Q&A with director Jirí Barta.

Jaromil Jireš' Valerie a týden divů
(Valerie and her Week of Wonders, 1970)

2.00pm, Sunday 18 May

When a 13-year-old girl crosses the threshold into womanhood, her life unfolds as a baroque, gothic saga of vampires, witchcraft, and mysticism. Rich in imagination, color, and sensual textures, this remarkable celluloid poem has been described as "a Jodorowsky/Bergman co-production of a Grimm's fairytale."

Premiere of a new print.

Jan Švankmajer's Otesánek (Little Otík, 2000)

4.00pm, Sunday 18 May

In this darkly satirical tale, based on an old Czech fable, a childless couple dig up a tree stump, treat it as their baby, and, by the force of their love, bring it to which point it starts devouring everything around it. Švankmajer's surrealist vision also bristles with a barbed political and psychological intelligence.

Zbynek Brynych's ...a pátý jezdec je strach
(And the Fifth Horseman is Fear, 1964)

2.00pm, Saturday 24 May

After removing a bullet from a Resistance fighter, a Jewish physician begins a nightmarish search for morphine through the Prague streets. This intense and expressionistic Orwellian fable was first conceived as a depiction of Jewish life under Nazi rule.

Juraj Herz's Spalovač mrtvol
(The Cremator, 1968)

4.30pm, Saturday 24 May

In Herz's blackly comic and brilliantly gothic horror tale set during the early stages of the planned Nazi occupation, the operator of a crematorium-cum-horror chamber becomes increasingly delusional and murderous.

Juraj Herz's Morgiana (1971)

2.00pm, Sunday 25 May

The wicked Viktoria dispenses a slow-acting poison to her better-liked sister, Klára, sending her into an uncanny, hallucinatory existence. Based on a story by Aleksandr Grin, "Russia's Edgar Allen Poe."

Jiří Svoboda's Prokletí domu Hajnů
(The Damned House of Hajn, 1971)

4.15pm, Sunday 25 May

In his fanciful reinvention of the "lunatic-in-the-attic" tale tradition that dates back to The Cat and the Canary, Svoboda blends narrative and stylistic elements that invoke Roman Polanski, Billy Wilder, Maya Deren and Dario Argento.

For more information on the programme in NYC, contact AMMI at:

Phone: (718) 784-0077

For more details of touring dates around the US, see the New York Czech Center website:


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