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The Uninvited Guest

Nezvaný host
Directed by: Vlastimil Venclík
Czechoslovakia 196922' cs

He knocks on a couple’s door at night and hauls in his suitcase. He knows what people are like, and he knows what is what; just don’t ask where he’s from. Such are the times; accept it. At first the couple oppose the stranger, but it turns out that They are everywhere. They watch and report. This one is pretty nice, actually—he’ll be like a brother, a friend…

Venclík made this film while studying at Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU). The initial idea was to make a humorous spoof of the Czech tendency to adapt to circumstances as a means of survival, much like J. Hašek’s comic literary hero, Švejk, does. But this film was made just one year after the Prague Spring—the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia—and the work was seen as an insurgency against the ruling regime. Venclík was subsequently expelled from the academy, which basically ruined his career, and The Uninvited Guest remained in the State Security archives only because it had been labeled as an inconsequential item.

Foreword by the programme curator: Film as parable, fairy tale, fable. An accurate and angry political tract made in film school under political terror.