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2 Jun 2016 - 4 Jun 2016

Drahomíra Vihanová Retrospective @ Barbican

Alongside Miloš Forman, Ivan Passer, and Jiří Menzel, Drahomíra Vihanová was a prominent member of the Czechoslovak New Wave, but unlike some of her contemporaries, she remained in her country after the Prague Spring in 1968, only to have her work heavily censored. As a result, her films have never been seen in the UK. A short retrospective of her films will pay tribute to her work, presenting her first feature, A Squandered Sunday - finished in 1969 only to be premiered and distributed after political changes of 1989 - and a selection of her best documentaries.

As one of the few women filmmakers in Eastern Europe in the 1960s and ‘70s, Drahomíra Vihanová studied at the legendary FAMU (Film and TV School of The Academy of Performing Arts) in Prague, which became a focus for dissent against the Communist regime.

Her graduation film Fugue on the Black Keys (1964) won four international awards and, after working as an assistant director, she made her feature debut Squandered Sunday (1969). Immediately banned by the authorities, Vihanová was unable to continue working in the film industry until seven years later, when she was offered work on documentaries.  She has built up her career as a great documentary filmmaker, principled and uncompromising, with heartfelt documentaries such as Metamorphosis of My Friend Eva (1991), Behind the Window (1989), Questions for Two Women (1983) and Everyday I Step Out in front of Your Face (1992) having inspired generations of film students that Vihanova taught at FAMU. In 2011, Vihanová was awarded an AMU (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague) medal for her significant contribution to Czech film culture, and in 2015 she won the prestigious Czech Lion award for her ‘Outstanding Contribution to Czech film’.

Read Barbican's Blog about Drahomíra Vihanová


2 June 2016, 6.30pm
Cinema 2, Barbican, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS

An existential, absurdist and beautifully shot satire on the Czech military. Drahomíra Vihanová portrays the fantasies of a lethargic army officer on a lazy Sunday morning.
Czechoslovakia 1969  Dir Drahomíra Vihanová 78 min

4 June 2016, 4pm
Cinema 2, Barbican, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS

Fugue on the Black Keys  
Exploring the world of outsiders, Vihanová’s first film follows an African classical music student in Prague and explores issues of loneliness and isolation at a time when there were few non-white students in the country.
Czechoslovakia 1965 Dir Drahomíra Vihanová 30 mins
Questions for Two Women
A rural railway worker and a city dwelling molecular chemist have more in common than they originally thought.
Czechoslovakia 1985 Dir Drahomíra Vihanová 22 mins
Everyday I Step in front of your Face, 21’
Franz Eimann, a farmer in the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia, was called to the front line in 1943. This documentary short explores the difficulty of his return home after the war, when German-Czech relations had profoundly changed.
Metamorphosis of My Friend Eva, 21’
This TV short is a portrait of Vihanová’s friend Eva Olmerová, a renowned Czech jazz singer. The film captures the highs and lows of Olmerová’s life, and embodies their friendship.

Fugue on the Black Keys

Questions for Two Women


Presented in partnership with the Barbican, and the National Film Archive, Prague

With special thanks to Dr Vladimir Alexander Smith-Mesa.


Cinema 2, Barbican, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS


From: 2 Jun 2016
To: 4 Jun 2016


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