Who Wants to Kill Jessie?(1965) Director: Vaclav Vorlicek;
"Who Wants to Kill Jessie?" is a film about a mild mannered professor and his wife who invents a serum to treatment nightmares. Her concoction is intended to make the person dream something more pleasant, but when she finds out her husband is dreaming about the comic strip Who Wants to Kill Jessie?, she injects him to change his dreams. However, she wasn't aware of the side effects of the injection, which is that elements of the nightmares come to life!
Jessie (Olga Schoberva), a busty blonde, is the stuff comic book dream women are made of. Just wearing a short dress and showing a bit of cleavage Jessie catches the eye of just about every man that sees her. Her cute expressions and overwhelming attractiveness adds liveliness to the film.
The two villains from the Jessie comic strip also come to life; the cowboy and a muscleman that resembles superman. Although they are now real, they still resemble the comics because they still talk in word balloons. The three are a shock to everyone and have the police chasing them in no time.
Although I thought the movie was loaded with great humor, one of my favorite parts was when the serum was being tested. The nightmare and dream of the test subject are hilarious, expectably since the subject is a cow. Her nightmare was about running backwards and being chased by flies while her dream was about eating flowers while lying in a hammock and having people play musical instruments for her.
"Who Wants to Kill Jessie?" is an original film that is a lot of fun. It is a movie that is a mixture of science fiction, comedy, mad science, and could even be considered a critique on controlling governments if one looks very deeply at it. I think this film is really fun because the humor doesn't let up.
The End of August at the Hotel Ozone(1966) Director: Jan Schmidt;
The End of August at the Hotel Ozone is Czech film from 1966 about a post-apocalyptic world. This film could be considered an anti-war film, as the picture it presents of a post-nuclear world is not pretty. It shows us a world that is nearly a throw back to the Stone Age.
A band of women travel together and are searching for other people, particularly men, but it has been years since they saw anyone new. An older woman acts as their leader and occasionally tells them what the world was like before they were born. The young people raised in this world do not have the morals of those raised before the war. To call them reckless and savage would be an accurate description as they think mostly of themselves and cruelty is part of their normal behavior. I have to add that parts of the movie are disturbing, as there is actual animal cruelty in the film.
I highly enjoyed the visual beauty and creativeness of The End of August at the Hotel Ozone. Learning about the world presented in the film coupled with seeing the effect the war had on people is an eerie combination. The story drew me in and I thought the suspense didn't let up. I think this is a great movie but may not be for those who are faint of heart. Even with that said, everything that is disturbing about the film just might be adding another element of realism.
Dark Blue World(2001) Director: Jan Sverak;
Although watching a movie with subtitles may been a bit artsy, Dark Blue World stays clear of that and should appeal to wider audiences. It is more than just a war movie as it is also the story of friendship. Although most of the story is serious and has some very sad parts, from time to time, there are even some very funny scenes. The movie isn't entirely in Czech as about 1/3 in English; don't let something like reading subtitles keep you away from this great film.
The story mostly focuses on the interactions of two Czechoslovakian pilots: Franta and Karol. Franta is an older and a more experienced pilot and acts as a mentor to Karol, who is much younger. When the Germans occupy their country, they flee for England and fly for the British. Karol ends up falling in love with a married British woman, but she begins to desire Franta who is unable to resist. Clearly, one theme of the movie is can friendship be destroyed by the jealousy over the same woman.
The story takes place during World War II (1939 to the early 1940s) and in 1950, in a prison labor camp. It goes back and forth between the two time periods and we see how Franta isn't treated as a hero after the war but a potential threat to the Soviet occupiers. Oddly, the feeling one gets after the war is more dismal.
Dark Blue World is a beautiful film with a romantic flair to it. There is something striking about airplanes and sky battles. At the same time, it isn't a lifeless story purely about heroism or patriotism. It is more like a complicated, yet detailed, painting that pulls in many details and feelings to create an overall impression that is appealing to many different types of viewers.