Shot in 1969, but banned by the Czech government until the fall of the Communist regime in 1990, Menzel’s wry comic drama is a hymn to humanity and nonconformity. The film’s principal characters are residents of a state-run junkyard / labour camp for those whose actions have been deemed ‘counter-revolutionary’. On one side of the yard live the men, most sent here for ‘re-education’. On the other side, are a group of women interned for the crime of attempted defection. Separately, the two groups lazily toil, sorting out piles of scrap metal (one huge pile is nothing less than a veritable mountain of crucifixes and religious icons); together, they flirt, philosophize, and occasionally sneak off behind the hillocks of slag to make love.
Larks on a String is at once a stinging indictment of the repressive politics of Czechoslovakia's past, and an endearing comedy and affecting love story.
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