The seemingly banal plot of Miloš Forman’s second feature film revolves around a shoe factory trainee (Andula) living in an all-girls boarding house who is seduced by a visiting Prague pianist. Suitcase in hand, she soon takes up his offhanded invitation made during their one night together to visit him, only to find no-one is expecting her. Andula is perhaps the only heroine in Forman’s entire filmography. Her bittersweet story, which Forman wrote with proven collaborators Ivan Passer and Jaroslav Papoušek, is embedded in tragicomic scenes of life in 1960s socialist Czechoslovakia. Loves of a Blonde is testament to Forman’s mastery in directing both trained actors and non-actors alike: they are naturally placed in brilliantly staged yet perfectly authentic situations abounding in absurdity and black humour, but also compassion and tenderness. This is precisely the essence of Formanesque realism: embarrassment and truth are more closely connection than we usually realize. After his first feature, Black Peter, Forman with this film cemented his standing as an original glossarist of social reality, who managed to approach in particular young male protagonists from an intimate distance. Loves of a Blonde had its world premiere in 1965 in the main competition at the Venice Film Festival. It was later nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Now it returns to the big screen in a digitally restored version.
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