The Firemen’s Ball - In memoriam Miloš Forman

Horí, má panenko, 1967, Czechoslovakia, Language: Czech, Subtitles: English (72’); Screening: 09.07, 13.30, Toldi Cinema, Nagyterem

Not long ago there was a heated dispute about whether Czech New Wave filmmakers studiously avoided social issues when they were dreaming of the delirium of mass excursions, village pig-killing and small-town holidays slowly disappearing in the mist. Themes were on the flash of a shapely ankle and the beauty of the head of beer sliding down the side of a pint glass. Of course, the answer is a definite no: particularly in the case of Miloš Forman, who died this year and whose film The Firemen’s Ball was a metaphor for oppressive regimes, not only today but when the film was made. Almost all authority figures attending the ball are petty minded and quick to take offence. Everyone is not taking but stealing from the common good. The farcical lottery scene is akin to a medieval comedy: it shows that as far as human fallibility is concerned, nothing has changed for centuries.

Directed by: Miloš Forman
Screenplay by: Miloš Forman, Jaroslav Papoušek, Ivan Passer
Director of photography: Miroslav Ondříček
Music by: Karel Mareš         
Cast: Jan Vostrčil, Josef Šebánek, Josef Valnoha, František Debelka, Josef Kolb, Jan Stöckl
Genre: comedy, satire
Production: Carlo Ponti Cinematografica, Filmové studio Barrandov
Format: colour, 1.37:1