Recently I started volunteering at my local Arthouse cinema which has been a big moral boost to my confidence after a 12 months fruitless search for work (still searching!), it has also had its other rewards as I get to see films too! 2009 when I started Cinehouse I called my journey into the alternative side of Hollywood an ‘film education’ introducing me to a whole new exciting world of film I wouldn’t have dreamed of watching years back. Now I’m here at the cinema I finally get a chance to adore those films like classic Arthouse films from years gone by like Milos Forman‘s 1965A BLONDE IN LOVE (Lásky jedné plavovlásky)also known as Loves Of A Blonde.
A Blonde in Love is a bittersweet tale of young shoe factory girl Andula (Hana Brejchova) naive nature but like most girls of her age dreams of one day she’ll meet her prince charming and be swept off her feet. Andula has one problem, she lives in the small town of Cruz where the female population outnumbers the male one by 16 to 1. To boost the morale of the girls the factory director has arranged with the Local government for dance to take place in the town of reservist soldiers from the people’s army who are detoured through the town.
Whilst to the disappointment of most of the girls that these soldiers are middle age, Andula’s have moved from the soldiers to band playing at the dances pianist Milda (Vladimir Pocholt) which ends up with the pair having one night of passion.Before Milda returns home to Prague he invites Andula to join him in the city but after weeks of no word from him, Angela packs her case heads to the city to find him and rekindle that brief love.
A Blonde In Love may not win on plaudits for its simple basic story of a young girl’s search for love, though it is the simplicity which has attracted people to adore this film. its charm has stayed with those fortunate to see this film the first time around which I learned when I worked during this particular screening to a few of the audience before& after the screening, it was also the fact the cast was also made up purely of amateur cast which gave the film a real poignant edge .
When it comes to experiencing films of certain directors for the first time, I do like to do a little light reading first on the filmmaker before attempting the review in order to understand their vision. What I learned with Forman’s use of non-professional actors (who improvised) gave A Blonde In Love a sense of realism. Forman’s film was essentially a social comedy highlighting the embarrassment society has with love and sex especially in the 1960’s. It’s hard to believe this was regarded as an ‘adult’ film but this was 1960’s a decade which was a little more conservative or even reserved about views on sex and when you look at cinema’s approach to sex nowadays how far we have progressed make this film feel very tame.
The best example of comedy this film has to offer comes in the last scene which sees’s Angela turning up unexpectedly on the doorstep of Milda’s parents home in Prague. It’s a scene that proves it doesn’t matter how much we love them or do our best to do right we are as dysfunctional as ever when it comes to families. We see first a typical scene of parents arguing over something which could be seen as trivial easily solved in a heartbeat but Milda’s parent makes such a song and dance about the situation arguing as if the poor girl’s appearance as it was totally her fault making her feel real uncomfortable. The real comedy part kicks off when the drunk Milda arrives home to be shocked that Angela is sleeping in his bed, before you know it he is feeling the wrath of his parent’s anger. Mother been Mother she becomes overprotective of her ‘little boy’ forcing him to sleep in the same bed as his parents in between them like what you did when you were a kid, it could have easily have been a scene straight out of a Laurel & Hardy or even Marx Brothers only way to describe it as hilarious.
A Blonde In Love became part of what became Czech New Wave, a series of films that combined fiction with documentary style with a heavy dose of comedy. We have to remember this was 1965 communist Czechoslovakia and this type of film was liberating giving filmmakers a chance to freely express themselves making films about everyday life rather than the propaganda filmmaking usually associated with then Cold War countries. The need to be loved is something that touches everyone and A Blonde In Love certainly is an example of loneliness, when love is not around. It’s a melancholic stylistic shot film that’s realistic, poignant funny tale that refines in the believe that more isn’t always the best to be a striking film. A Blonde In Love is a perfect introduction to a filmmaker who helped shape Arthouse films and probably sparked off a generation of directors like Mike Leigh.
★★★★ |Paul Devine
Comedy, romance | Czech Republic, 1965 | 15 | Second Run DVD | Dir,Milos Forman | Hana Brejchová, Vladimír Pucholt, Vladimír Mensík | Buy: [DVD]
Originally posted at Cinehouse | 1st January 2012