Eugene Among Us

Eugene Among Us

(Evžen mezi námi)
Petr Nýdrle / CZ, 1981
Czech version, 80 min

Young Eugene from the provinces travels to Prague in order to seek a better life and acquire recognition and fame. Initially he earns a living as a road sweeper; he writes rudimentary poetry and occasionally manages to get himself invited to drunken parties thrown by the Prague boho set. At one such gathering he gets an offer to write engagé pop lyrics expressing loyalty to the governing regime. Gradually the naive yet honourable country dweller becomes a cynical man of means, surrounded by beautiful women. While no-one likes him, everyone’s afraid of him, so he commands respect. The graduation film by Petr Nýdrle was made at Prague’s FAMU, thus outside the realms of official programming. After the success of a private screening held in 1980, the film never made it into distribution (although it was never officially banned), and audiences were only able to see it after November 1989. Thirty years have passed since the filming of this satire criticising the flexible morals of normalisation Czechoslovakia. To this day the black-and-white film appeals for its combination of raw shots and stylised acting performances.

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