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25 May 2019 - 27 May 2019

Fruit of Paradise - 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.


Saturday, May 25, 8:30PM (for tickets click here)
Monday, May 27, 2:30PM (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.

Screenplay by Ester Krumbachová
Director: Věra Chytilová, 1969, 96 min, Czechoslovakia

Director Věra Chytilová’s tragicomic films often focused on themes turning on how “material fatigue”, curiosity and boredom can cause infidelity in a relationship. This film sees the director staying true to form with a loose adaptation of the biblical story of Adam and Eve (and the tempter serpent). Fruit of Paradise was the last film to be made by Chytilová in the liberal climate of 1960s Czechoslovakia. Made in close cooperation with screenwriter and costume designer Ester Krumbachová, the film also benefits from a powerful aesthetic contribution by way of cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera. This trio worked together to much acclaim in Chytilová’s previous Daisies (1966). But this subsequent opus goes even further in terms of storytelling stylisation, oscillating as it does between a detective story and a comedy of manners. Serving as an essay on truth, lies, friendship and betrayal, the film is set in a luxurious guest house, boasting a large garden, and isolated from day-to-day reality. Married couple Eva and Josef are among the guests attempting to enjoy the idling away of time. The bored wife is enamoured by mysterious seducer Robert – before it becomes clear to her that he is actually a serial killer of women. The quick-witted Eva manages to defend herself in the face of the cynical psychopath, talking her way out of a tight spot. Upon returning to her husband, Eva goes back to her conventional co-existence... This movie – a demanding film for the audience – bubbles with philosophical subtexts, and experiments in form and style; it can in fact be read in a multitude of ways. Indeed, the film, produced in 1969, also serves as a circuitous commentary on the suffocating climate of “normalisation” gripping Czechoslovakia after 1968. Entered into competition at Cannes, the cryptic picture merely ended up baffling the jury. Fruit of Paradise is assisted by the music of Zdeňek Liška, as well as by strongly stylised performances from Jitka Nováková, Karel Novák and Jan Schmid, whom the director brought to the screen from Liberec’s Studio Ypsilon theatre. Věra Chytilová returned to the story of Adam and Eve, albeit unsuccessfully, in Expulsion from Paradise (2001). (National Film Archive)










Though Ester Krumbachová was considered by director Věra 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 Kachyňa (The Ear), Jaromil Jireš (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders), and Jan Němec (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

All My Compatriots

Diamonds of the Night

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

The Fifth Horseman Is Fear

Coach to Vienna

Long Live the Republic!


Francesca Beale Theater, Lincoln Center


From: 25 May 2019
To: 27 May 2019


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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