We lost one of the last living giants of the heroic age of the Czechoslovak New Wave in 2020 with the death of 82-year-old Jiří Menzel, more responsible than any other single director for announcing Czech cinema’s arrival on the world stage when his tender, tragic Closely Watched Trains, an international arthouse phenomenon based on a Bohumil Hrabal novel, won Best Foreign Language Film at the 1968 Academy Awards. This two-film tribute of recent Menzel restorations pairs that beloved title with another, lesser-known Hrabal adaptation, Menzel’s biting 1969 satire Larks on a String—lesser-known only because it was suppressed by government censors until the Velvet Revolution of 1989, when audiences could finally see a “new” film from Menzel at the peak of his powers, when gentle, humane artistry could seem to the authoritarian state like an imminent threat.

Intro by Czech film curator Irena Kovarova
7:40pm Friday, January 27

Intro by Czech film curator Irena Kovarova
9:45pm Friday, January 27