Jaromil Jireš was a director associated with the Czechoslovak New Wave movement. His 1963 film The Cry was presented at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival. It is often described as the first film of the Czechoslovak New Wave, a movement known for its dark humor, use of non-professional actors, and "art-cinema realism". Another of Jireš's prominent works is The Joke (1969), adapted from a novel by Milan Kundera. The film was produced during the political liberalization of the 1968 Prague Spring and contains many scenes which satirize and criticize the country's communist leadership. Released after the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the film had initial success in theaters but was then banned by authorities for the next twenty years.
Following the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, Jireš continued to work in the country, making less controversial material. In 1971, he directed My Love to the Swallows, a World War II film about a Czech resistance fighter. His 1982 film Incomplete Eclipse was presented at the 33rd Berlin International Film Festival. He continued making films through the '80s and '90s, including ballet and opera documentaries for television.
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