These shorts by Jan Svankmajer were made during a critical period of artistic development for the Czech master-animator. They include The Garden (16 mins, Czechoslovakia, 1968), The Flat (13 mins, Czechoslovakia, 1968) and Picnic with Weissmann (13 mins, Czechoslovakia, 1968).
Jaromil Jires, 80 mins, Czechoslovakia, 1969, 35mm, B&W, Czech with English subtitles. Courtesy: Czech Republic National Film Archive
Combining political ideas with existential investigation, Jires' film is an adaptation of Milan Kundera's novel of the same name. Deeply critical of the Stalinist era, it remained largely unseen for almost two decades.
Otakar Vavra, 103 mins, Czechoslovakia, 1969, 35mm, B&W, Czech with English subtitles. Courtesy: Czech Republic National Film Archive.
Mass hysteria takes over a 17th century Czech village in the grip of a witch-hunting inquisition. This anti-Stalinist parable was banned until after the Velvet Revolution of late 1989. Its stark black and white photography and its exploration of the abuse of power make it comparable with Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc and Arthur Miller's The Crucible.