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Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028 Map
Fri, Jun 28, 2019 - Sun, Jun 30, 2019
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The tour of the retrospective THE ANARCHIC CINEMA OF VĚRA CHYTILOVÁ is produced by Comeback Company; the program was produced and originated at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in partnership with Czech Film Fund. Curated by Jesse Trussell. Films provided by the Czech National Film Archive, Negativ Film and Bonton.

Born in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, Věra Chytilová (1929 - 2014) was an artist who wanted absolute freedom, even if it led her to mistakes. She believed that you learn more from mistakes than from successes. She was convinced that without risk, there is no gain, no discovery.

The first time Chytilová risked it all was when she decided, at the ripe age of 28, to study film directing. She abandoned her previous life, going all in for a career that in her time still wasn’t pursued by many women. Already at the entrance exam, she challenged the committee, who represented the dominant filmmaking style of the day: She wanted to direct films because she didn’t like what she saw in cinemas - the mere illustration of stories. Throughout her career she prodded the form, unafraid to interfere with the story through the use of associations, deforming the structure, image or content. She sought to capture life in its ordinary situations and feelings. She didn’t seek originality but a better means to express what she wanted to say. To spark a dialogue with her audience. To get to the core of the truth, express the flow of life, disrupt reality. Her interest lay in the author’s relationship to what is unfolding, her stance to the story, what she thinks of it. In her view, a film should contribute to understanding and compassion.

Often impatient and raging, Chytilová called herself a tigress. She was a cub of the tiger she saw in her beloved father. Her family gave her the strength and freedom to become what she longed to be. She in turn offered the same to her children, artists in their own right. Grounded in her family and relationships with her husband, cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera, and her close friend, screenwriter and costume designer Ester Krumbachová, Chytilová created new worlds. She had an insatiable thirst for filmmaking, taken from her at the height of her artistic prowess after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

For six years she wasn’t allowed to make feature films, yet she refused to consider herself a banned artist, fighting the system every step of the way, with every weapon available: “Men fear a ‘hysterical woman.’” She became notorious for screaming and complaining. The fight kept her believing she would be back behind the camera. And return she did, uncompromising as ever, skillfully circumventing every obstacle, beating the establishment at its own game of words. Being a woman, in Chytilová’s eyes, wasn’t a handicap. She felt equal and refused to accept any limitations. She believed that merit trumped gender, saying: “To think otherwise is nonsense. I don’t have time for that.” Nonetheless, her individualism and frank portrayal of women made her a feminist icon.

Program notes by Irena Kovarova, first published in the Czech Film magazine Summer 2019 issue.

Egyptian TheatreFri, Jun 28, 2019 - Sun, Jun 30, 2019
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Films in this Series at the Egyptian

Fri, Jun 28, 2019 - 7:30pm
Egyptian Theatre
Sun, Jun 30, 2019 - 7:30pm
Egyptian Theatre