Friday, April 6, 2012

The High Wall (1964)

The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)
The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)

Czech New Wave
Genre: Romance
Director: Karel Kachyna
Starring: Radka Duliková, Vít Olmer
Language: Czech
Duration: 71 min.
Rating: 7.5  

Every day after school, eleven year old Jitka secretly goes to the hospital wall, where she meets and develops a crush on a young man recovering from a spinal injury he sustained in a car accident. 

The High Wall is a film directed by Karel Kachyna, co-written with frequent collaborator Jan Procházka who he worked with on over a dozen films during the New Wave. It premiered at the 1964 Locarno International Film Festival, winning the Silver Sail award for Best First Work.

It's the innocent tale of a relationship that develops between a young school girl and a man partially paralyzed from a car accident. Eleven year-old Jitka (Radka Duliková) is a slightly tomboyish and mischievous child who loves climbing on rooftops and playing pranks on the caretaker of the apartment block where she lives.

One day while chasing a stray cat, she climbs atop a wall that separates a lumber yard and the hospital courtyard where she meets Mladík (Vít Olmer), a young handsome man who is wheelchair bound after a car accident. This chance encounter becomes an every day routine for Jitka, who returns each afternoon bearing small gifts and words of encouragement to get the depressed and defeated Mladík walking again.

Their friendship is a dangerous subject matter that can easily fall into the creepy and uncomfortable zone but Kachyna handles the storytelling beautifully. Poetically maintaining the naive and innocent point of view of Jitka as she starts to develop her first crush and resolving the story with a sweet and delicate touch.

The same lyrical visual style seen in his other works such as Coach to Vienna can be found here, with nice fluid camera movements and strong use of background imagery. There are also some great scenes throughout that wonderfully capture the lively look and feel of mid 60's Prague. All of this accompanied by a lovely soundtrack comprised of a series of improvised versions of Beethoven's Für Elise. 

Bonjour Tristesse

The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)

The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)

The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)

The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)

The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)

The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)
The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)

The High Wall • Vysoká zed (1964)


The Reel Foto said...

sounds sweet. :)

Guest said...

Oh this sounds like it's for me. Fur Elise brings me too many memories of happiness, and the bordering creepy feel is probably gonna be to my enjoyment. I'll try and find this one eventually

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 I didn't find it creepy at all, I only mentioned that because I'm sure some viewers might feel that way.

Post a Comment