Genre: Comedy / Drama
Director: Milos Forman
Starring: Hana Brejchová, Vladimír Pucholt, Vladimír Mensík, Ivan Kheil, Milada Jezková
Duration: 90 min.
Andula is a young factory worker from a small town where because of the draft, the girls outnumber the boys 16 to 1. She catches the eye of and is seduced by a jazz pianist from Prague hired to play at a gathering to boost local morale.
Loves of a Blonde also known as A Blonde in Love, is a Czechoslovak New Wave film directed by Milos Forman. It premiered in competition at the 1965 Venice Film Festival, and two years later was nominated for both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film.
Revisiting the light and comedic but realistic look at young lives in Czechoslovakia that he explored in his two previous films Black Peter and Audition/Talent Competition; by once again borrowing a combination of influences from the French New Wave and Italian neo-realism, and using his preference for non-professional actors and live music, Forman delivers a deceptively simple and beautiful film with great humor and insight.
The scenario involves Andula (played by Hana Brejchová, the younger sister of Forman's first wife), a young and blonde shoe-factory worker stuck in a dead-end job in a dead-end town. A town where most of the men have been conscripted so now the women outnumber the men 16 to 1. In order to boost the morale of his workers, the factory manager makes a request for the army to station a garrison of troops in town. They arrive amidst great fanfare but to the disappointment of Andula and her friends, all they get are a bunch of balding middle aged reservists.
When the regiment arrives, a large mixer is thrown at the local pub, and here Forman gets to recreate his favorite type of scene, using multiple cameras and lively edits, he captures an assortment of people drinking and dancing to live music. It's a brilliant sequence of observational comedy where three hapless soldiers uncomfortably try to pick up Andula and her two friends by plying them with alcohol. Eventually the three girls make the age old play of 'just going to the restroom', and out in the foyer Andula happily encounters Milda (Vladimir Pucholt), the young and handsome pianist from the band on his way up to his room.
Here in a lengthy sequence, Forman masterfully recreates the young mating game, as they flirt and chat with great natural chemistry, the persistent Milda uses his memorable arsenal of well practiced lines and breaks down Andula's feigned reluctance one step at a time until they are finally alone in his room. Of course the naive Andula believes his every word and mistakes their one night stand for true love, setting the stage for hilarity and heartbreak when she soon arrives at Milda's parents' doorstep with suitcase in hand.
Hidden amongst these funny and tender moments is an underlying critique of communism, or at least the faulty implementation of it present in Czechoslovakia at the time. One scene in particular stands out for me where the factory girls gather for a meeting and put an issue to a vote, where the outcome is predetermined but a nice twist is amusingly revealed to us with some clever editing.
With his long time collaborator Miroslav Ondrícek's ever evocative black and white cinematography, a cast of memorable characters, and a genuine screenplay that hides layers of depth in its simplistic story, Forman's third film is a real pleasure to watch. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but the level of quality in the films I've seen so far from this era is astonishing, and to think I'm just barely getting started.
— Bonjour Tristesse