A landmark in Czech cinema, this historical epic is the only film to attempt to reveal the life of the country’s patron saint.
A milestone in Czech cinema history, this silent epic was the most expensive Czech film to date, with the largest set constructed in Europe to accommodate an all-star cast of over a hundred, together with 1,000 extras for the lavish battle scenes.
Its team of cinematographers included Jan Stallich (Ecstasy) and Otto Heller, who later worked with Max Ophuls and Laurence Olivier, as well as Michael Caine on The Ipcress File and Alfie. Recalling the work of Griffith and Fritz Lang, Jan S. Kolar’s vast, ambitious production tells the tenth century legend of Václav Duke of Bohemia (St Wenceslas), who successfully defeated his enemies but was murdered by his own brother. Václav became the patron saint of Czechoslovakia, his statue standing at the head of the square bearing his name in Prague.
Czechoslovakia 1929 Dir Jan S. Kolár 116 min
Accompanied by vocal artists and musicians from Cappella Mariana, the Prague-based early music ensemble specialising in medieval polyphony, this rare and precious screening provides a magnificent celebration of the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia.
Presented in partnership with Barbican in collaboration with the Czech National Film Archive.