Something Different: A Věra Chytilová Retrospective

As part of a special collaboration between Second Run DVD and Sheffield Doc/Fest to celebrate International Women's Day, viewers from the United Kingdom will be able to access five of Chytilová's most trailblazing films — Daisies, Ceiling, A Bagful of Fleas, Fruit of Paradise, and Something Different — for free from 8-14 March 2021.

This curated retrospective of one of Czechslovakia’s (later Czech Republic’s) most important filmmakers and cultural figures is a well-overdue re-introduction to a major yet perennially underrated female filmmaker. With it, we want to celebrate International Women's Day and Chytilová both. Taken as a whole, Something Different: A Věra Chytilová Retrospective is both a celebration of her most famous works, often revived and which continue to have an outsize influence on younger filmmakers even today, as well as a timely spotlight shone onto lesser-known films from early and late in her career. These other films, including masterpieces like Story of a Housing Estate or her graduation film Ceiling, each shift, reconfigure, and reframe our understanding of Chytilová as an artist, a complex woman and public figure, and as the giant presence in Czech culture she remains.

"Over the almost 50-year span of her career, we’ve heard Věra Chytilová’s laugh so many times that it deserves to be catalogued. [...] The world being created (Fruit of Paradise, Ban From Paradise), children being born (The Apple Game), houses being built (Story From a Housing Estate), a new regime and new state emerging (The Inheritance or Fuckoffguysgoodday, Traps) – none of it, ultimately, stands the test of humanity. [...] The aesthetics of buffoonery is so apt for Chytilová’s works, making the agitated camera spin from character to character as they chase each other for sex, profit, or pleasure, yelling and gesticulating in a Tom-and-Jerry-like frenzy. Not even an alien invasion (Wolf’s Hole) can bring people together in solidarity. Can we call Chytilová a misanthrope, though? Absolutely not. For many years, she watched the abiding human comedy unfold. She once called Something Different “a drama about the eternal struggle for immortality amidst the finality of human powers.” If we replaced “drama” with “comedy”, this definition would apply to all of her films without exception.

— Boris Nelepo, "Věra Chytilová's Last Laugh", 2017.

In cooperation with

  • Second Run
  • Sheffield is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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