LOVES OF A BLONDE. (Czechoslovakia, 1965, 88 min. b&w)
Thirty years later, Milos Forman's second feature is as bittersweet, funny and touching as ever, with the added dimension of an obvious social-historical satire. In 1965 the film's mockery was prudent and devious, as socialism seemed as though it would go on forever. Today it is clear that what was the political background's miserabilism then, is really the movie's meat now.
Simple and sharp like a story by Maupassant, "Loves" is the tale of a very ordinary girl, Andula (Hana Brejchova) who works and lives in the nearly all-female world of a provincial shoe-factory. Males appear in the shape of an Army detachment, but they are older and decidedly unromantic reservists. At a dance given for them, the soldiers sit with soldiers and eye the girls. The men's awkward hesitations and lack of polish, the women's timidity and embarrassment and everyone's naivete are minutely observed with superb realism, funny-sad humor punctuated by hilarious moments.
is a comedy of behavior whose action, such as it is, is in the details. Disappointed, the gullible Andula is cajoled into seduction by Milda, a young, philandering piano player from Prague, and falls in love. Showing up, uninvited, at his parents' apartment, she gets the cold shoulder, especially from Milda's hostile mother. The girl's bewilderment is poignant, yet funny bits also abound in this depiction of people shorn of individualism and living dull, shabby lives within an indifferent socialist State. Forman's style of ironical episodes will recur, with added warmth, in his next feature, "The Fireman's Ball," and later in his first American film, "Taking Off" where scenes of singing are clearly inspired by similar vignettes in "Loves of a Blonde." (Edwin Jahiel)