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The White Dove (1960)     Josef Kilian (1965)

Second Run DVD present a unique double bill of two early works now regarded as two of the main precursors of the Czechoslovak New Wave.

The White Dove is the bold and striking debut feature of master filmmaker Frantisek Vlácil (Marketa Lazarova; The Valley of the Bees). It is a sparse, elegantly composed and stunningly beautiful tale of a wheelchair-bound boy and an artist who inadvertently intercept a homing pigeon and nurse it back to health.

Josef Kilián is a dark and absurdly humorous, biting allegory of life under the Communist regime.

Author of the screenplays for Daisies, Ikarie and A Jester's Tale, yet Pavel Jurácek remains one of the Czech New Wave's most neglected artists. He made only four films, and this surrealist masterpiece - inspired by two icons of Czech literature: the anti-militarist, anti-authoritarian Jaroslav Hasek and the grotesque nightmares of Franz Kafka - was banned forever after the Soviet invasion of 1969.

Newly restored from original master materials, these two remarkable films are presented for the first time ever in the UK.


 

(aka "Holubice" )

 

directed by Frantisek Vlacil
Czechoslovakia 1960

 

On its way from Belgium to Poland, a carrier pigeon is lost in a storm and winds up in Czechoslovakia (Prague to be exact) instead. It first catches the eye of artist Martin (Vjaceslav Irmanov) who lives in the top floor of an apartment building only to be shot with an air pistol by Michal (Karel Smyczek), a wheelchair bound boy living in an apartment below. Martin retrieves the dying animal from the elevator shaft and presents it to Michal in order for him to grasp the enormity of his deed; but the bird isn't quite dead and Michal prevents Martin from putting it out of is misery. Michal, in a wheelchair since he fell from a high fence retrieving a parachuted toy soldier, attempts to nurse the bird back to health on his balcony. His stubbornness pays off, but will he be able to let it fly free when it is ready. Unbeknownst to Michal, on a Baltic island, Susanna (Katerina Irmanovova) forsakes all else (including her health) as she waits for her bird's return.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 4 November 1960 (Czechoslovakia)

Reviews                                     More Reviews                               DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:06:50 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.56 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Czech/German/French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Double feature with 1965 short 'Josef Kilian' (37:02) by Pavel Jurďż˝cek and Jan Schmidt
• Essay booklet by Peter Hames

DVD Release Date: 28 October 2013
Amaray

Chapters 8

 

Comments

Second Run's dual-layer DVD features a new digital transfer of THE WHITE DOVE that is undoubtedly superior to Facet's domestic 2004 disc (especially given Facet's standards). The image unfortunately sports some unattractive edge enhancement that is presumably baked into the master given Second Run's fine treatment of other Czech titles (including the additional digital cleanup they have performed on the masters provided). The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track vividly renders the icy harpsichord notes of Zdenek Liska's score. The optional English subtitle translation are free of errors.

The only extras are the disc's short co-feature JOSEF KILIAN (see below) and a booklet with essays on both films. Of THE WHITE DOVE, the booklet focuses on director Frantisek Vlacil who was not a member of the Czech New Wave, but had studied puppetry and film before working on the Czech Army Film Unit where he made over thirty films. The analysis of the film demonstrates how Vlacil privileges graphic sensibility over political agenda, and is followed by discussion of his subsequent film career.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 


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(aka "Postava k podpirani" or "Joseph Kilian")

 

directed by Pavel Juracek, Jan Schmidt
Czechoslovakia 1965

 

The short JOSEF KILIAN by Pavel Juracek (writer of Vera Chytilova's DAISIES and adapter of IKARIE XB 1) and Jan Schmidt (SETTLEMENT OF CROWS) takes a mild-mannered citizen into a Kafka-esque bureaucratic hell when he comes upon a "cat rental agency" and decides to rent one. When he goes to return the cat, he finds that the store no longer exists and no one seems to have heard of it. With late fees mounting - at least in the protagonist's mind since we see know indication that he is being billed by this apparently non-existent agency - he appeals to authorities and finds himself constantly misdirected to other officials or blamed for causing the problem by renting the cat in the first place (he cannot even explain why he wanted one in the first place). Slight yet funny, JOSEF KILIAN inciting incident may be absurd, but contemporary viewers may actually find the protagonist's ensuing frustrations very relatable.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 7 May 1965 (Finland)

Reviews                              More Reviews                                  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 37:02 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.49 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Double feature with 1960 film 'The Whtie Dove' (1:06:50) by Frantisek Vlacil (see above)
• Essay booklet by Peter Hames

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 4

 

Comments

The transfer of JOSEF KILIAN is much better-looking, which is fortunate for the film itself even though the photography isn't as ravishing as that of THE WHITE DOVE (although both were shot by Jan Curik, who also masterfully lensed VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS). No complaints about the Dolby Digital 2.0 mono or the optional English subtitles.

The liner notes booklet makes the case that the filmmakers were not actually inspired by Kafka (whose body of work had been undergoing a rehabilitation in the country the year Juracek wrote the story) - despite he presence of a "Josef K." character - and suggests the elements of the story had more to do with the "Theatre of the Absurd" and Albert Camus. The essay also includes some discussion of the filmmakers' later works.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

 




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