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JURAJ HERZ: IN & OUT OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK NEW WAVE

August 2 to August 9

Slovak-born Juraj Herz was a lightning rod for controversy following the release of his 1969 black comedy The Cremator who, notwithstanding that film’s ban by the Communist regime, he continued to live and work prolifically in Czechoslovakia, turning out an immensely varied, always challenging body of work. Self-taught as a filmmaker, Herz studied acting and puppetry alongside Jan Švankmajer rather than attending the Prague Film School, and developed an autodidact outsider’s willingness to experiment and innovate. As a Slovak Jew and Holocaust survivor, Herz was perhaps understandably drawn towards dark subject matter, practically inventing a Czechoslovak horror-fantasy tradition with troubling works like Morgiana (1972) and Ferat Vampire (1982), spinning a Gothic fairy tale in his Beauty and the Beast (1978), and exploring his memories of the concentration camp in his chilling Caught by Night (1986). Upon his death in April of 2018, a Sight & Sound obituary deemed Herz “ripe for discovery by international audiences”— and we couldn’t agree more.

This touring retrospective is produced by Comeback Company. Curated by Irena Kovarova. Films provided by the Czech National Film Archive and První veřejnoprávní. Special thanks to Alex Zucker; Martina Raclavská; Michal Bregant, Tomáš Žůrek, Kateřina Fojtová, Czech National Film Archive; Čestmír Kopecký, První veřejnoprávní.

Previously Screened