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Josef Kilián

Postava k podpírání
Directed by: Pavel Juráček, Jan Schmidt
Czechoslovakia 196338' cs

Sunny old Prague. The crossroads of two cobbled streets—to the right, a line of children speedily walks by under their teachers’ escort; to the left, a column of soldiers marches by; to the right, two white horses pulling a hearse wagon lead a slow-moving funeral procession… Looking upwards instead of at this disciplined movement, stands a stately man. Soon he will understand nothing. Neither how to find Josef Kilián—to inform him about someone’s death, nor how to get a certificate indicating that he has unsuccessfully tried to return a rented cat.

A satirical allegory of the submissive powerlessness of the individual in an authoritarian bureaucratic society. The protagonist’s useless pursuit as he walks through labyrinths of streets, hallways, waiting rooms and stairwells has an absurd atmosphere that suggests a strong Kafkaesque influence. Yet P. Juráček, the film’s screenwriter and director, who above all else wanted to be a writer, had not yet read neither The Castle nor The Trial. He sought to create an original world, not a copy of it.

Foreword by the programme curator: The spirit of Kafka and painful absurdity reincarnated in a seemingly simple plot and language. Made by a free-thinker.