Director: Stefan Uher
Starring: Marián Bielik, Jana Beláková, Olga Salagová, Pavel Chrobak
Duration: 90 min.
An examination of a young relationship over the course of one summer that intersects the uncertainties of first love, and the contrast of life in the city and the countryside.
The Sun in a Net is a film directed by Stefan Uher. It is an early key example of the budding Czechoslovak/Czech New Wave, that is one of the first films to break out of the strict Socialist-Realist mold previously forced on filmmakers by the communist authorities.
Taking advantage of the loosening in policies in the early 1960's, Uher was able to break new ground with this film, by using a more ambiguous and free flowing narrative one that didn't have to have an absolutely pro-communist message, and depicting certain scenes that while completely tame by today's standards, would never pass the censors just a few years earlier. Getting away with images such as girls in bikinis, implied adultery, or even showing an inefficiently run farming co-operative, was previously unheard of.
Uher also took some influence from other European filmmakers particularly the visual style of Michelangelo Antonioni, and also the Italian neorealism movement which can be seen in many of the city scenes as well as the rural tavern scenes.
The film is centered on the young couple Bela (Jana Beláková) and Fajolo (Marián Bielik), who have a few days left together before Fajolo must go to the country to do mandated work for the summer. It then continues to follow their separate threads as they each discover life and love over the rest of the summer.
The story alone isn't very remarkable, but Uher's refreshing and creative way of crafting a poetic mosaic of images, precisely captures the youthful essence and perspective of his characters. Starting with a beautifully filmed sequence of a solar eclipse viewed from the Bratislava apartment rooftop where the two protagonists prefer to spend time together, along with many other memorable and striking scenes including the titular image of the sun reflected in a fisherman's net, we are shown the world through these young people's eyes.
It's a wondrous and positive outlook from these individuals who for the moment have many exciting possibilities and the rest of their lives ahead of them. A message that fortunately for us, would not be missed by the other Czech and Slovak directors of the time.
— Bonjour Tristesse