The Czech National Film Archive (NFA) proceeds in digital restoration of Czech classics. After last year’s screening of Ikarie XB-1 (Jinřich Polák, 1963) in Berlin and Cannes, NFA is doing re-release of Miloš Forman’s Black Peter (1964) at the 74th edition of the Venice International Film Festival. The screening for public will take place in Sala Casino on Monday 4th at 17:30. The movie is in czech language with both italian and english subtitles.
Filmovyprehled.cz offers following summary: “A tragicomedy about a 16-year-old young man who encounters the hypocrisy of the adult world during his first job at a small supermarket. This dazzling debut feature film from noted director Miloš Forman also represents a key work of the Czechoslovak New Wave era. In 1963, the then 31-year-old Forman unveiled this loosely structured personal tale, which also serves as a piercing study of the generation gap. Petr starts working behind the till in a small town supermarket; but his real task is to watch for potential shoplifters. At the same time, Petr is also under pressure from his well-meaning, but imperceptive father. Petr doesn’t even feel at ease among his own contemporaries. The authenticity of this timeless film, shot in the town of Kolín, is aided by several non-actor “discoveries” by Forman – namely Ladislav Jakim as Petr and Jan Vostrčil as a band member. Černý Petr (Black Peter) also sees a breakout performance by the then 21-year-old (but already experienced) actor Vladimír Pucholt, who would become a major performer of choice for the New Wave crowd.”
Black Peter is important for the history of the czech cinema mainly because it’s considered one of the first movies of the Czechoslovak new wave – the golden period of czech and slovak cinema, that led to two Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. First to Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos for The shop on Main Street (1965) and second to Jiří Menzel for Closely Watched Trains (1966). Other important works include Daisies (Věra Chytilová, 1966), The Cremator (Juraj Herz, 1968) or Loves of a Blond (Miloš Forman, 1965). The script to the last one was co-written by Jaroslav Papoušek, who also worked on the Black Peter. Czechoslovak new wave ended in August 1968 with arrival of the armies of the Warsaw Pact. Many authors including Forman left the country. Forman continued in his film career in the USA, although his style significantly changed, as we can see on his later works One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Hair (1979) or Amadeus (1984).
The digital restoration was carried out in Cinepost Barrandov, Prague. The team was led by Tereza Frodlová, but consulted with the director Miloš Forman and Ivan Passer, who worked on the movie as assistant director. In the archives was found one original negative and eleven copies for distribution. But not all of them from the year of original release. One whole scene, previously unknown, was discovered. The team attempted to get as close to the movie screened in 1964 as possible. After the Venice re-release, the czech premier will take place on September 13 in Lucerna Cinema, Prague.