LOVES OF A BLONDE
Review by Michael Jacobson
Hanu Brejchovou, Vladimira Pucholta
Director: Milos Forman
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: Milos Forman Interview, Deleted Scene
Length: 85 Minutes
Release Date: February 12, 2002
every animal on the planet is content to merely come together to mate, without
the awkwardness of becoming involved. It
is only the humans that make a mess of everything.”
of a Blonde in
1965 marked the first time Czechoslovakian director Milos Forman would be
nominated for an Oscar, and of course, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
Before the renowned director came to the United States to make his
indelible mark with films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus,
The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon and more, he was one of the
primary forces behind his native country’s own version of the New Wave film
movement. Loves is a simply
structured testament to that movement’s success, both inside and outside of
is a verite quality to the work that strips the subject matter of gloss
and glamour…indeed, it has the feel of a home-movie documentary that was
filmed in black and white for monetary rather than artistic considerations.
It is both absurdly amusing and surprisingly touching at the same time,
telling the story of one woman seeking her own identity in the impossible
Communist environment of her country.
woman is Andula (Brejchovou), a bit unlucky in life and in love.
She lives with a large group of girls who have all been relocated to a
small provincial town by the government to work in a shoe factory.
She tells her bedmate of the boy she loves, but we see in flashback that
he never arrived for their pre-arranged meeting.
order to bring balance to the largely female population, the factory directors
bring an Army unit into town, which seemed like a good idea on paper, but most
of these men are too old for these young ladies, and not exactly the kind of
romantic kindling they were hoping for. In
a funny scene, three soldiers flirt with Adula and her friends from across the
room at a dance…many things go wrong.
her friends make dates with the soldiers, Andula finds herself in the arms of
the dance’s pianist, Milda (Pucholta), who seduces her strangely, persuasively
and possessively. Though he must
soon move on with the band, he leaves Andula his home address in Prague so that
she can look him up sometime.
final stretch is both funny and sad, as Andula does indeed show up, only to find
Milda’s bewildered parents there, not knowing what to do with the girl.
When Milda shows up, he doesn’t remember his invitation.
To him it was a one night stand, but to Andula, it was the beginning of a
to let her son sleep with the girl, the mother forces Milda to sleep with her
and his father in their bed. Their
constant grumbling and griping is amusing enough, until we leave their room to
find poor Andula crying softly outside their door.
leave Andula as we first found her, chatting on about Milda as her new love, but
knowing that her situation is not as glowing as she pretends.
There will be other loves for her, we surmise, but we wonder how long her
charming, wholehearted naivety can last.
Brejchovou is sweet and delightful as Andula.
She has a pretty face with sad eyes, and makes us feel for her every step
of the way. Her naturalistic work
is a good mesh with Forman’s loose, realistic structure, which often serves to
bring us uncomfortably close to what should be private, revealing moments.
Andula, love and emotion does seem to make a mess of things for her, as one
character describes early on. They
don’t lead her out of her stifling life, but sadly, further into it.
But those fleeting moments of escape are when she comes to life, and
I’m glad that this film almost seemed to ‘happen’ upon one such moment for
is a beautiful black and white transfer from Criterion…clean and pristine in
appearance, with remarkable and natural looking contrast levels throughout.
I noticed no grain or breakup to interfere with the images…in fact, the
only print flaw is a tiny, faint line that appears off center from time to
time…so faint, it’s honestly barely noticeable.
One drawback of being a DVD critic is that you train your eye to notice
the most insignificant details. But
overall, consider this another top notch offering from Criterion, and another
gift to lovers of world cinema.
soundtrack ranks amongst the best mono offerings I’ve ever heard…the audio
is surprisingly dynamic and full sounding, as evidenced by the strange opening
song, but maintained throughout. Voices
have a natural reverb quality to them, and sounds, music and emotional levels
give the track plenty of dynamic range. An
disc includes a 15 minute interview with Milos Forman, who talks about his early
career in the cinema, with a bit of in-depth detail on Loves of a Blonde…an
interesting piece. There is also a
4 minute deleted scene, which the disc explains has been included in some
versions of the movie, but is NOT considered part of the director’s definitive
version. We are even told where it
belongs in the movie chapter-wise, just in case we’d like to skip around and
re-insert the scene ourselves.