Ucho 1970
Karel Kachyna's 1970 The Ear is a harrowing tale that interweaves marital discord and surveillance paranoia. With its portrait of a government functionary who spends a sleepless night wondering if he'll be arrested before daybreak, it's no wonder that The Ear had to wait until 1989 for its Czech premiere; the wonder is that it was made at all.

The story takes place over one brief paranoid evening in the life of Ludvik (Radoslav Brzobohaty) and Anna (Jirina Bohdalova), a caustic married couple. Ludvik is a senior ministry official who finds himself under suspicion when his superior and others in his office are arrested and held for questioning. Upon returning home from a Party function, he and Anna encounter a house where both the power and phone lines have been turned off. In addition, there are cars parked outside and men milling about in the garden. Internal and external panic ensues inside their dark and untidy home, where they fear the “ear” is listening to everything they say and do.

With its pitch-perfect ending, The Ear is a surprisingly commercial thriller that tangles with dark undercurrents - a movie ripe for rediscovery.

Director: Karel Kachyna
Cast: Jirina Bohdalova, Radoslav Brzobohaty, Jiri Cisler, Miroslav Holub, Milica Kolofikova, Galina Kopaneva
Country: Czechoslovakia
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Drama

BD50 | 1080p AVC | 01:35:15 | 36.6 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Czech
Subtitles: English


Introduction by Peter Hames - in this video piece, Peter Hames discusses the socio-political environment in which The Ear emerged, its banning by the communist government in Czechoslovakia, and the career of the film's creator, Karel Kachyna. In English, not subtitled. (13 min, 1080p).

The Projection Booth Commentary - this audio commentary was recorded by Mike White, Ben Buckingham, and Martin Kessler.

The Uninvited Guest - this short film was directed by Vlastimil Venclik in 1969. A man and his wife find themselves strangers in their apartment after a few 'comrades' move in and begin 'sharing' their food and personal possessions. In Czech, with optional English subtitles. (23 min, 1080p).