Thursday, 4 January 2007

Audition (1963) - Milos Forman

Firstly, this isn't exactly one film; it's two short films that were wedged together because someone figured they shared a few things in common.

The first film, If There Was No Music shows some young men messing about on motorbikes to impress some hot young Czech women. The it cuts to two rival orchestras/bands practising playing Czech music, inlcuding that of Janacek. The film, shot in faux documentary style using mainly close medium shots and extreme close-ups works well at illiciting some affinity towards the characters and their different approaches to their chosen profession. With light whimsical touches and an underlying current of irony the film gets across the main point - that is, the passion music excites in participants and audiences alike.

In the second short - Audition, Miroslav Ondricek's photography really comes to the fore, as does the editing; whereas it was Ivan Passer's (director of "Intimate Lighting") writing contributions that solidify the first film. In this we see a range of people auditioning for a talent show, some have lied to get away from jobs to be at the audition and others have just seemingly walked in off the street. Many are bad singers, but some are pretty good yet the film seems to focus on two women in particular. One of whom constantly sings flat, and the other has pinned everything on getting through the initial audition stage. As a picture of Czech life in monochosm the flick works fine, aided undoubtedly by the quiant lyrics and upbeat temp of the music that flows throughout.

This film has been cited as kickstarting the Czech new wave; i'm not sure how true it is but the visual style is very symptomatic of both that particular movement and other eastern european films from the 60s and 70s (specifically i noticed elements similar to films from Poland and Hungary). The film also contains many narrative elements that Forman would continue to explore throughout his career, the most obvous of which being his overwhelming passion for music, the contagiousness of which is intoxicating.

Overall: 7/10 - big thumbs up


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