(Ovoce stromu rajských jime), Czechoslovakia/Belgium, 1970.
Thursday 30th April 7:00pm at The Hyde Park Picture House
This avant-garde classic comes courtesy of the Czech National Film Archive and the Czech Centre in London where film buffs have enjoyed a major retrospective of the work of Vera Chytilová. She was one of the outstanding filmmakers in the Czech New Wave and, whilst she rejected the label of feminist, an important female director in times when they were even rarer than at the present.
The Czech New Wave was notable for its observational approach to cinema: an important influence on our own Ken Loach. And the filmmakers were also drawn to unconventional techniques and forbidden topics. The later led to regular attempts to ban or censor films, something that afflicted Fruit of Paradise. Following on from this film Chytilová became a ‘non-film person’ for six years.
But there has also always been a strong surrealist strand in Czech art and film. Since the 1930s Prague has been an important centre for this movement, tying in to a longer tradition of mannerism. Jan Švankmajer is certainly the most important surrealist filmmaker in the contemporary world.