mon 22/12/2014

DVD: A Blonde in Love | Film reviews, news & interviews

DVD: A Blonde in Love

Miloš Forman’s Czech New Wave classic comes up fresh in a welcome reissue

An iconic scene from the Czech New Wave: Vladimir Pucholt and Hana Brejchová in 'A Blonde in Love'
An iconic scene from the Czech New Wave: Vladimir Pucholt and Hana Brejchová in 'A Blonde in Love'

Miloš Forman’s second feature, from 1965, catches the absurd atmosphere of the director’s native Czechoslovakia with both quiet desperation and raw tenderness. Heroine Andula (Hana Brejchová) works in a shoe factory in a town where women outnumber men by 16 times – until it is announced that an army division is to be relocated there, to the excitement of the local girls. But it turns out they are reservists and considerably older and plumper than expected. Forman excels himself in the dance-party sequence which shows the clumsiness and vulnerability of both the would-be seducers and their targets.

Blonde_in_Love_sleeveThe comedy quickly changes mood as Andula catches the eye of band pianist Milda (Vladimir Pucholt) and vanishes with him (their nude scenes were seen as forward for the time). They may have been just strangers passing in the night, but it’s enough to break up Andula’s relationship with her boyfriend, and even send her off on an uneasy final trip to Prague to track down Milda, which sees her caught up in his family environment far more than she could have expected.

Forman cast non-professional actors in most roles, and the result has a remarkable naturalness, while cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček’s work has an immaculate black-and-white crispness that looks absolutely fresh in this restored print. The tender humanism of Forman’s story, and affection for his characters who seem not to have much going for them, unsurprisingly caught the attention of emerging British director Ken Loach, who has regularly cited A Blonde in Love as his favourite film.

Watch a clip from A Blonde in Love

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