Sunday, January 9, 2011
Zdenek Podskalský - Bílá paní AKA The White Lady (1965)
"As a child growing up in the 60's on a military base owing its existence to the Cold War, I had absolutely no way to know that behind the Iron Curtain anything existed beyond political prisons and secret police. I was taught that there was no freedom of any sort in a communist country. This film helps to strip away those lies and peel back the cultural isolation that results from a "normal" American upbringing and education. It contains an incredibly surreal scene that mocks the failings of communism in an unmistakable manner. "
Zdenek Podskalsky is not actually part of Czechoslovak new wave. He started making films in 1950. Almost all of his films were crazy comedies and films for TV. Film Bila Pani (White Lady) is one of his social commedies and in my opinion it's the best film he made. This film is based on a book by Karel Michl.
Film is situated in a small town Komonice in the 60's, the time of communism where the only party, represented by chariman of people's committee and his secretary instead of taking care of the people's needs they build up a fountain. There's a castle in the Komonice and according to a legend there is good ghost in the castle - White lady. She emerges from the painting on the wall when someone speaks out magic formula. White lady builds up a water supply for an old woman who asked for that by the painting. Then she makes a new fence and pavement... Not only her acts but even her existence is not suitable for chairman and his secretary but they find something better than forbiden her. They want to make a plan for her which is going to be planned and then checked by local people's committee and than it would be presented as a work of working class.
Film is full of humour outgoing from everyday communist reality and empty phrases of Communist party leaders.