One of the most radical and brilliant movements in film history, the Czech New Wave came to an abrupt end with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Despite stifling restrictions, an intrepid generation of filmmakers continued to challenge Communist censorship by creating art that was provocative, satirical, and deeply critical of authoritarianism. The Czechoslovak Communist government responded the only way it knew how: by banning these works outright, resulting in many works that went unseen in their home country for decades.
In anticipation of Václav Havel Day, the Czech Republic's national Statehood Day, in New York City on September 28, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is screening a selection of subversive, savagely funny, dark, and defiant films— Case for a Rookie Hangman (1969), The End of a Priest (1969); Vera Chytilova's Daisies (1966) and Fruits of Paradise (1969) alongside a tribute to the late Milos Forman with a special screening of Black Peter (1964)— which stand as enduring testaments to the power and necessity of dissident art.
The series' title "Power of the Powerless" is inspired by the 1978 essay of the same name by Václav Havel, who started an important discussion on the subject of freedom and power in Eastern Europe, questioning how one should challenge and interact with governing bodies in their society.
Power of the Powerless: Banned Films from the Czechoslovak New Wave runs September 21-23rd at Lincoln Center. Presented in collaboration with the Czech Center New York. Organized by Florence Almozini and Tyler Wilson.