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LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC

Czechoslovakia, 1966 (MIFF 1967, Programme 3)

Director: Karel Kachyna

A vivid re-enactment of life in a Moravian village towards the end of the last war. The cynicism of the story effectively conveys the sardonic humour of the villagers' efforts to protect their farms and valuables from the retreating Germans and the Russian liberators. The director has told the story through the eyes and emotions of a twelve-year-old boy, whose symbols of the goodness of life are his mother, his cream-coloured horse, and a host of puppies.

Lyrical, at times surrealist, the time sequences are confused as the boy's daydreams mingle with his actual experiences. The film is punctuated by a series of haunting images as we watch with his eyes the passing of the troops through the village. While his elders succeed in retreating, the boy becomes directly involved. When all values disintegrate, only he maintains a rational view of life, so that even liberation becomes a hollow triumph.

International Critic's Prize, San Sebastian Festival; First Prize, Mar del Plata Festival.

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