The Czechoslovak New Wave was one of the most radical and brilliant bursts of creativity in film history. The political thaw that allowed it to flourish even within a totalitarian state 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 in New York City on September 28—the Czech Republic’s national Statehood Day—join us for a selection of five of these subversive, savagely funny, dark, and defiant films—All My Countrymen (1969), The Cremator (1969), The Ear (1970), The Firemen’s Ball (1967), and Larks on a String (1969)—which stand as enduring testaments to the power and necessity of dissident art. Presented in collaboration with the Czech Center New York.

Presented in collaboration with the Czech Center New York.

Czech Center New York, Marie Dvorakova, Barbara Karpetova; Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association, Joseph Balaz; Václav Havel’s 1978 essay The Power of the Powerless (Moc bezmocných)

The name “Power of the Powerless” is inspired by Václav Havel’s 1978 essay, “The Power of the Powerless.” Havel 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.