Czech New Wave filmmaker Věra Chytilová had a penchant for the avant-garde, which is is personified in her most celebrated film, Daisies. Her career was blighted by the censorship she suffered under the Czechoslovakian and Soviet regimes,stifling the career of the most promising female director of her generation. Her early work is less well known but demonstrates the traits which run throughout her entire canon.
Chytilová’s debut feature, Something Different, is a tale of the frustrations, desires and anxieties of two different women. Shot in a cinéma vérité style, The first story follows Olympic gymnast Eva Bosáková as she struggles whilst training for her final competition. The second focusses on a disgruntled housewife (Věra Uzelacová) as she finds her life subjegated by her objectionable son and uncaring husband. Something Different contrasts the fates of two women who are living oppressed lives, it’s impressive and gives an early indication of things to come.
A Bagful of Fleas
Restored beautifully from a new 2k print, A Bagful of Fleas is a pseudo documentary focussing on young female workers at a textile factory. Jana rebels against the regime within the workplace and is the anathema of a model worker, but her stealing, sneaking and general avoidance of work sets the rest of the dormitory against her. The use of a new girl Eva as the camera point-of-view is a brilliant move and makes it feel fresh and captivating.
Something Different/A Bagful of Fleas is released on DVD by Second Run today.