THE FIREMEN’S BALL
Monday, September 12
Thursday, September 15
Friday, September 16
Saturday, September 17
Thursday, September 22
Directed by Miloš Forman
Starring Jan Vostrčil, Josef Šebánek, Josef Valnoha
Approx. 77 min. New DCP Restoration.
Bad day for the fire brigade: during the dance honoring their chief’s retirement the raffle prizes, a penitent thief is caught by too-quick light up after a no-questions-asked blackout, causing a debate whether his attempted return was judicious; the beauty pageant suffers from a paucity of willing girls; and a halt for an actual alarm is prolonged when that darned fire just won’t go out. The chief’s final close-up is one for the ages.
“A brilliant satire of the Communist state in which a volunteer fire department attempts to throw a party for their one-time boss on his birthday with disastrous results. Although it hits its satiric targets with pinpoint accuracy, it is never cruel towards its characters and indeed, there is a certain sweetness and sympathy to Forman’s approach that prevents it from degenerating into a mere screed.”
– Roger Ebert
“A delicious parody-fable of Slavic bureaucracy.”
“Forman’s comedy is special. The timing and involutions of the humor are such that there is escalating laughter, while an awareness of the sadness of things — real fire, monumental pettiness — deepens as well.”
– Renata Adler, The New York Times