By : Ivan Passer

With : Zdenek Bezusek, Karel Blazek, Miroslav Cvrk
Rep. tchèque, 1965, 72 min
zone 2, Noir & Blanc,

Not available for sale now


with : Zdenek Bezusek, Karel Blazek, Miroslav Cvrk
Czech Republic, 1965, 72 min, dvd 9, zone 2, black and white

Original Czech version with French subtitles

INTIMATE LIGHTING is set in a small Czech village where music is the main preoccupation. A very serious and impatient conductor is overseeing a rehearsal for a concert, which is gradually selling well. Bambas, a local resident who plays violin informs the conductor that a guest soloist will be joining them, who soon arrives – it is his old friend Petr, who brings along his pretty girlfriend Stepa (played by the second wife of fellow Czech director Milos Forman, looking something like a Czech Anna Karina). Le following is not so much a conventional narrative, but more a number of gently comic scenes, directed with warmth and empathy by Passer towards his characters. Minor episodes amuse, such as Petr trying to prove his strength to Stepa by gradually increasing the number of bricks he can carry (but he has to call Bambas to take them before he drops them), the family exchanging plates during dinner as they all worry someone doesn’t have enough (and the subsequent throwing of a chicken leg during an argument which spills a glass, to Stepa’s amusement), and a line of men urinating in unison against a wall.

Petr, Bambas, and his father exasperate their wives for their neglecting of them because of music. Stepa and Petr argue because Stepa feels she has been ignoring them on their visit, and that he would rather spend time with Bambas than her, and it’s true to some extent, as many of her scenes focus on her walking around alone, frightening cats or speaking to the local village idiot. Yet Passer concentrates on friendship as his major theme in this film; the friendship between two men who have not seen each for many years, and how differently their lives have developed. Bambas is married, as got three children and lives in this village with his parents, whilst Petr lives in Prague. They reminisce about the past, get drunk, and make an abortive attempt to become itinerant musicians (they fail to get picked up when they hitchhike). A final scene of all drinking eggnog together is a potent symbol of family and fraternity. Passer’s celebration of life and its pleasures is a charming comedy, filled with many small scenes that will raise a smile, and presumably it’s “controversy” resided in the fact that it was not a celebration of Communism. It is strictly free of politics and ideology, much like the early films of Milos Forman.

Bonus: chapitering - master restored – new subtitles
Booklet 36 pages : Press Review (3 articles) / interview of Ivan Passer by A. Liehm / filmography

Watch a video excerpt :