Pharaoh Haqq Presents: Panel Story
A pleasurable and provocative morality play set inside decaying, failed utopian housing projects in Communist Czechoslovakia, Panelstory bursts with Chytilovás unique stylistic flair and a keenly attuned moral sensibility. Vérité-style camerawork roams amid the rubble and up and down the dysfunctional apartment blocks, checking in with an ensemble cast of characters going about their daily lives.
Few films from its time are so openly critical of state socialism, and its a marvel that Panelstory managed to be made at all before being banned. MAD
Chytilovás multi-level portrayal of contemporary life is a blunt and aggressive confrontation with the normalised society in which she lived. Set against the background of a high-rise estate, the film examines the nature of contemporary morality and materialist preoccupations. One of the few genuinely critical works of its time, Prefab Story received limited release and was denied international exposure. BFI
Written by Eva Kacírková and herself, Vra Chytilová brilliantly directed the satirical Panelstory aneb Jak se rodí sídlistePanelstory, in short. The setting is a vast apartment building complex just outside Prague; the complex is partially occupied, partly still under construction, with all the attendant machine-noise, mud and debris due to the latter. The overflowing, mostly unpleasant humanity, mostly within flats and in the outside mess, contrasts with long-shots of the solid, sterile edifices. As though battering these buildings, Chytilovás camera dynamically pans, whips around and across the sides and windows, its zoom lens highly active both forward and back. Chytilovás film is the most extreme application of cinéma-vérité camerawork to a fictional film that I can recall, lending the material, for all the films zaniness and slapstick comedy, a stunning degree of realism. Dennis Grunes
Suns Cinema (View)
3107 Mount Pleasant Street NW
Washington, DC 20010