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Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon

Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967) Movie Poster
Czechoslovakia  •    •  77m  •    •  Directed by: Jan Schmidt.  •  Starring: Vladimír Hlavatý, Jitka Horejsi, Ondrej Jariabek, Vanda Kalinová, Alena Lippertová, Irina Lzicarová, Natalie Maslovová, Jana Novaková, Beta Ponicanová, Olga Scheinpflugová, Magda Seidlerová, Hana Vítková.  •  Music by: Jan Klusák.
      After the nuclear war, toughened by the savagery of this devastated world, a gang of women roams about the land. The photography and electronic music of the film gives it a modernist and harrowing varnish. Visionary and precursory, this film finds itself in the tradition of the apocalyptic works of Carpenter, Corman or Romero. A dystopia which contrasts very much with the Soviet space operas where "tomorrow" is always progress

Review:

Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
Image from: Konec Srpna v Hotelu Ozon (1967)
This one heralds later works, Cormac Mccarthy's The Road and Michael Haneke's Time of the Wolf among them. It's a journey through a bleak barren landscape where characters are lost in it rather than found, set after an unspecified apocalypse that leaves the world an empty desolate place, not the end of the world like in an Emmerich film where destruction is an exciting spectacle to witness as but rather "an" end to the world, a hazy blur of abandonment filled with residues of mystery and nameless violence.

The film is a blank canvas. Distraught characters are violent and aimless. The land works by some other order. Where people like Herzog, Malick or Tarkovksy found things of spiritual importance to say on this other order, Schmidt's film is empty and distanced. When the film needs to be stark, animals are murdered for the camera, a dog is shot or a cow is slaughtered. The basic means of expression in The Road are poetic, here they are allegoric. As the characters of McCarthy's novel stagger starved and hopeless through the scorched macadam we can taste bitter ash in our mouths. Here they simply walk through shrubs. We don't fear for their souls, so to speak.

And then it gets interesting because the rugged band of amazons stumbles upon the ruins of an old hotel in the middle of the forest and there's an old man living there alone who sees in the young girls (all born after the apocalypse so they don't even have a word for "man" or "grammophone") a new future, new mothers for a new civilization of men. The first among the women, the leader, an old woman who was young before the apocalypse and can remember a time when "the cans didn't rust and the land didn't despise us", she doesn't allow herself to be dragged along on new hope, she is resigned to the end of times. The end is bleak and poignant, a hopeful future is not suggested, and the tiny pocket that preserves the civilization of the old world (where gramophones play music, where cows still make milk) is left behind to rot in the forest. What The End of August at the Hotel Ozone says about the communist regime of the time is at once vague enough to fool censors but clear in emotional duress.

This was a very interesting precursor to dystopian films that deal with the end of the world in sombre quiet terms. If it's not terribly successful it's because it's faintly groping in the dark where no one else had gone before, because it uses vague characters to sketch a very clear picture in allegory.


Review by chaos-rampant from the Internet Movie Database.