Silent Film & Live Score: Czech Silent Cinema during Transitional Period (1918–1924)
When someone says “Czech silent cinema”, people will probably think of Battalion (1927), Eroticon (1929) or St. Wenceslas (1930). Well, let’s forget about these for a while. This time, we won’t present the famous, long-forgotten masterpieces. Instead, we will offer you a reinterpretation of the overshadowed transitional period between 1918 and 1924, an era of unrestricted creativity that superseded the systematic film production before 1918 and preceded the period of stabilisation after 1925. Within the transitional period, there were at least three different groups of artists developing their original methods of filmmaking and collaboration. The first one was rather a film studio, the second one built on collaboration of strong personalities and the third one was an open community without clearly defined roles. In this section, we focus on the challenges these filmmakers had to face while searching for an ideal form of a feature-length movie in terms of its production and distribution.
The first group consisted of Václav Binovec (Adam and Eve, 1922) and Václav Kubásek (The Girl from the Mountains, 1924), in the second group was Vladimír Slavínský (Grand Prix, 1922) and Svatopluk Innemann and the third pack composed of Karel Lamač (Dr. Jenkins Miracle Cure, 1922), Jan Stanislav Kolár (The Torn Photograph, 1921), director of photography Otta Heller, screenwriter Václav Wasserman or Karel Anton (Gipsies, 1921). Our selection of movies will cover all three groups. It will highlight the different approaches toward the feature-length narration and outline various types of production.
The films will be accompanied with music presented by pianist Maud Nelissen, Berlin-based cellist and composer Martina Bertoni, guitar player Black Tar Jesus, Slovak-based musician Adela Mede or the Czech Lion award winners Irena and Vojtěch Havel.
Radomír D. Kokeš is a film historian, analyst and a lecturer whose aim is to understand films rather than judge them. For almost three decades, he’s been in love with classic, especially silent movies but he also conducted research on narrative structures of modern Hollywood series. His participation in the Summer Film School festival and his focus on Czech silent cinema bring him back to his roots.
Viktor Palák is an expert on music and film. He runs a podcast on Radio Wave and programmes the Imagina section at KVIFF. He loves the cinema of excess, empty narrations, queer pop and Baník Ostrava.