The Party and the Guests

A masterfully conceived parable by Jan Němec, in which a host invites to his table only those guests who are obedient and loyal and where even the slightest expression of disagreement is punished.

O slavnosti a hostech
Czechoslovakia 1966
  • English
68 min.

This masterfully conceived parable focuses on distorted mechanisms of behavior that are established as normative. Bizarre characters and deformed relationships are here portrayed with detachment, moreover, as if this were something natural and rather mundane. A menacingly gracious host invites to his table only guests who are obedient and loyal, while even the slightest expression of disagreement is punished. At the time of production this stylized situation was taken as a virulent attack on the regime, something understood by both the viewers and the censors, who hobbled the film in a variety of ways. It likely only added to the legend of this absurd parable, a work that nevertheless remains timeless in its rendering of the choices people make when brought face to face with power.

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Director: Jan Němec
Based on: Ester Krumbachová
Screenplay: Ester Krumbachová, Jan Němec
Cinematography: Jaromír Šofr
Music: Karel Mareš
Sound: Jiří Pavlík
Editing: Miroslav Hájek
Production Design: Oldřich Bosák, Ester Krumbachová
Producer: Ladislav Kalaš
Costumes: Ester Krumbachová
Cast: Ivan Vyskočil, Jan Klusák, Jiří Němec, Pavel Bošek, Karel Mareš, Evald Schorm, Jana Prachařová, Zdena Salivarová-Škvorecká, Helena Pejšková