The irrepressible Juraj Jakubisko (1938–) represents the baroque vanguard of the Czechoslovak New Wave’s Slovak contingent. After assisting on early works by fellow students Jaromil Jireš and Věra Chytilová at Prague’s FAMU film school, Jakubisko soon made his own mark with a succession of acclaimed, flamboyant and provocative films which saw him dubbed “the Slovak Fellini” at the 1968 Venice Film Festival, but which also earnt him the sustained wrath of his nation’s censors, with three of his four 1960s features shelved until after 1989’s Velvet Revolution, including the extraordinary Birds, Orphans and Fools that opens this season.
His similarly exuberant contemporary Elo Havetta said: “Jakubisko was the first to show that folklore is something more than songs and dances – a living tradition.” Moreover, his ludic, carnivalesque cinema – a clear influence on latter-day FAMU alumnus, Emir Kusturica – is also steeped in magical realism, symbolism and intertextuality and has habitually been highly engaged with the often-precarious times in which it was made. This season of imported prints principally focuses on the director’s feature-length works from the 1960s to the close of the 1980s, which typically position their lead characters in manic, triangular relationships amid trying times, but also includes the sumptuous fairy-tale Perinbaba starring Giulietta Masina, emphasising Jakubisko’s great affinity with Federico Fellini, on- and off-screen.
Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.
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