Teenager Petr receives a summer job which is full of responsibility: his task is to make sure the customers in a grocery shop don't steal anything. Which is understandable. We are in the first half of the 1960s, and people have not yet developed their consciousness to a sufficient degree. They steal. Naturally, Miloš Forman's first full-length film is not a study in the drama inherent in taking sweets and failing to pay for them. It is, in fact, a bizarre and slightly grotesque film that f...eatures everything that characterised the Czechoslovak New Wave: amateur actors (Jan Vostrčil, the man who plays Petr's father, was actually a musician in a brass band), a constantly changing screenplay and original locations. Unwieldy and haphazard, at times. While it was similar in spirit to French and British New Wave cinema, it was also completely different. Because it took place behind the Iron Curtain, where those innocent, naturally-occurring generational contradictions are permeated by something altogether more perplexing. A generation of fathers who expect to be obeyed by the youngsters. Though it is also true that the older generation aren't quite sure themselves of where they belong.
Sometimes you feel like you're watching a documentary, cinéma vérité, as the camera spies in the same places as Petr, the makeshift security guard. Except that behind these documentary-like episodes, we can also observe the complications of becoming a young man. Something which brings with it a host of questions: why do ageing crooners sing about the feelings of the young? Why is it that Petr must learn what to do with girls from his father's informative little book? And why must the holy icons and Giorgione's Sleeping Venus hanging in the kitchen be judged on the basis of the unimpeachable aesthetic verdict of the older generations?
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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