Close Up

23 April 2017: The Firemen’s Ball / Together


Lorenza Mazzetti
1956 | 52 min | B/W | 35mm
Introduced by Dr David Sorfa 

Together is set in London's East End, with its bombsites, narrow streets, riversides, warehouses, markets and pubs. It follows two deaf-mute dockers who are completely cut-off from the outside world and are constantly pursued by groups of jeering children. Its modern depiction of everyday working-class life and its new approach to realism were inspired by Italian neo-realism and by the techniques used by Mazzetti's Free Cinema friends.

The Firemen’s Ball
Miloš Forman
1967 | 72 min | Colour | Digital
Introduced by Dr David Sorfa 

A milestone of the Czech New Wave, Miloš Forman’s first colour film The Firemen’s Ball is both a dazzling comedy and a provocative political satire. A hilarious saga of good intentions confounded, the story chronicles a firemen’s ball where nothing goes right – from a beauty pageant whose reluctant participants embarrass the organizers to a lottery from which nearly all the prizes are pilfered. Presumed to be a commentary on the floundering Czech leadership, the film was "banned forever" in Czechoslovakia following the Russian invasion and prompted Forman’s move to America.

Dr David Sorfa is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh and managing editor of the journal Film-Philosophy. David Sorfa has written on Michael Haneke, Jan Švankmajer and Czech cinema as well as a broad range of other film subjects and has a particular interest in film-philosophy and film adaptation. He discusses The Fireman’s Ball on the recent Blu Ray release of the film.

Part of our season on Milos Forman and the British Free Cinema movement
, in collaboration with Czech Centre London: