The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, January 27-February 2

vera-chytilova-panelstory-5Panelstory (1979)
Directed by Věra Chytilová
Made during Czechoslovakia’s “Normalization” period—one in which a Communist regime governed the country—and banned shortly after its release, Chytilová’s fractured film examines a Tati-esque human ecology among the residents of a semi-built high-rise estate. Although the formal play is not quite as unbridled as Chytilová’s most famous work, Daises (1966), Panelstory uses rhythmic, kaleidoscopic montage, intercutting between high-rise denizens and the drab slabs of pre-fabricated cement blocks suspended in the air by cranes. In this homogenous environment, Chytilová focuses on an assortment of bickering caricatures: a toothless and partially blind elderly man trying to get someone, anyone to check on a motionless old woman he spots through her window; a pregnant university student questioning her future as a potential housewife, something she observes in a grief-stricken friend; a narcissistic middle-aged actor who can’t quite get his yellow Saab to start; and a heathen boy running amok through the muck of the estate’s upturned, unpaved streets. Keep yourself to yourself seems to be the motto of these most un-neighborly neighbors. Tanner Tafelski (January 31, 7:30pm at the Spectacle)

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