Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Original Title: O slavnosti a hostech
Czechoslovakia, 1966. Filmové studio Barrandov. Story by Ester Krumbachová, Screenplay by Ester Krumbachová, Jan Nemec. Cinematography by Jaromir Sofr. Music by Karel Mares. Production Design by Oldrich Bosak. Costume Design by Ester Krumbachová. Film Editing by Miroslav Hajek. Cannes Film Festival 1968.
A group of well-to-do friends are enjoying a picnic in the park when their idyll is interrupted by a group of obnoxious men who coerce them into playing strange games. The friends fall into submission very quickly before the fiendish imp who is making the rules is interrupted by an authority figure who invites them to a lakeside party, setting even more rules for how the fun will play out. Banned in Czechoslovakia, this film was a hit at the New York Film Festival and gained a cult following, possibly because its obvious, one-joke satire played well at the time. The lesson it has to teach about conformity feels tiresome now, there’s very little irony to the exercise and the characters turn to symbolism very quickly, but for some this will be its charm; for others it will be a painful bore.