36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Another Essential Second Run Release,
This review is from: The Party And The Guests  [DVD] (DVD)
'The Party and the Guests' is one of the best films to have come out of Czech new wave cinema in the 1960s. After a colourful history of being 'banned forever' by the Communist government and then languishing largely unseen in the west, it has now been given a DVD release with a good print of the film which is a worthy addition to any collection.
The film itself centres around a well-heeled group of people attending a party in a forest. Beyond that, it's probably better to leave the plot undescribed, as this film is in any case all about atmosphere. The creeping oddness and uneasiness which increases in stages towards the end is genuinely unsettling for the viewer, and several currents of tension run through the film. Power dynamics shift among the characters and one mysteriously disappears. The climactic scene of the film is in many ways strongly reminiscent - and possibly a precursor of - Bunuel's 'Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie' which makes it all the more fascinating.
Overall this short film (it's under 80 mins long) is very watchable and even rather gripping in places. You don't need a strong knowledge of Czech history and politics to admire what the film has to say on authority, totalitarianism and the ways human society works - or even just to enjoy the absurdity of it all. Buy this DVD and delight in a nearly forgotten classic of European film.