Friday, May 04, 2018

Jan Němec: 'A Report on the Party and the Guests' (1966)

Jan Němec's O slavnosti a hostech  / A Report on the Party and [the] Guests / The Party and the Guests (1966).  Banned in Czechoslovakia! Director exiled! Such facts make this film all the more compelling. In 2018, brutish leaders are in style again, randomness rules, and all bets are off. In short, this film breathes surrealism with a touch of parable concerning social expectations, management, fear and control. 
A small group of friends are enjoying a picnic in the country. They see a wedding party pass by. Then, a group of men led by an apparent psychopath arrive and make them do absurd things, until a higher up appears and next directs them to a lakeside celebration. However, one of the guests prefers not to stay. He escapes, and is then hunted by a mob while some guests remain at table, putting out candles. 

There's an eerie, unsettling feeling watching this film, the kind you might get reading Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." Jan Klusák as Rudolf (pictured above) is the most effective actor, projecting volatile menace through buffoonery. He reminds me of the Rip Torn character in Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), an adaption of the Tennessee Williams play, as well as "The Misfit."

Today's Rune: The Self. 

No comments: