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26 May 2019 - 29 May 2019

Coach to Vienna - Ester Krumbachová: Unknown Master of the Czechoslovak New Wave

Czech Center New York and Film at Lincoln Center present the work of the Czech costume and set designer, scriptwriter, and director Ester Krumbachová.


Sunday, May 26, 2PM (for tickets click here)
Wednesday, May 29, 4:30PM (for tickets click here)
Francesca Beale Theater at Lincoln Center

SPECIAL OFFER: Enjoy $3 off tickets to Film at Lincoln Center's Ester Krumbachova retrospective—tickets just $12. To redeem: Select the desired showtime at filmlinc.org/krumbachova and enter promo code “Czech2019" in the upper right box.

Costume design by Ester Krumbachová
Director: Karel Kachyňa, 1966, 76 min, Czechoslovakia

One of the roles of Iva Janžurová’s life was as the heroine in Coach to Vienna, a psychological drama by director Karel Kachyňa and screenwriter Jana Procházka. The experienced filmmaking duo offered the then 25-year-old a role in 1966 that highlighted her dramatic skills in an intimate framework. Janžurová had appeared in the small part of Bertýna Petrželová in Long Live the Republic! (1965), in which Procházka and Kachyňa also returned to the era of WWII, respectively its aftermath. In the spirit of the Czechoslovak New Wave, both pictures – along with the later Nun’s Night (1967) – radically revised the depiction of the country’s recent history. Rather than an overhaul of hitherto optics (the evil German, the good partisan), they introduced relativisation centred on a concentration on the individual and his experience of “big” historical events. The intimate nature of the story is underscored by cinematographer Josef Illík’s close camera work… In Coach to Vienna two fleeing Austrian deserters force young villager Krista to carry them through Znojmo and across the border in her cart. She agrees, spying a chance for revenge: The day before the Germans had as a deterrent hanged her husband and she aims to take the lives of the seriously injured soldier (Luděk Munzar) and his naive young friend (Jaromír Hanzlík). However, the situation plays out completely differently than she had planned: Despite her initial resolve, she cannot overlook the fact that the “culprits” are above all individuals, victims of circumstance just like her. The actions of a group of partisans bring the story to a brutal conclusion… This timeless story exploring the redistribution of guilt and revenge in a period of upheaval naturally soon ended up in the vaults of normalisation-era censors. (National Film Archive)







Though Ester Krumbachová was considered by director Vera Chytilová to be the boldest personality of the Czechoslovak New Wave, her contributions to the movement have been largely overlooked. A costume and set designer, scriptwriter, and director, the multi-hyphenate artist shared her puckishly surreal and trenchant, radical vision with such trailblazing directors as Chytilová (Daisies), Karel Kachyna (The Ear), Jaromil Jires (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders), and Jan Nemec (Diamonds of the Night). But shortly after making her directorial debut with the hilarious yet criminally underseen fantasy The Murder of Mr. Devil, she was blacklisted by the Czechoslovak Communist government. This May, the Czech Center New York looks back on Krumbachová’s singular imprint on the Czechoslovak New Wave, and reexamines some of the movements’ most beloved, important works in a new light. Presented in collaboration with the Film at Lincoln Center.


The Murder of Mr. Devil


The Ear

Fruit of Paradise

All My Compatriots

Diamonds of the Night

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

The Fifth Horseman Is Fear

Long Live the Republic!



Francesca Beale Theater, Lincoln Center


From: 26 May 2019
To: 29 May 2019


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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