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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 36.0° F  Overcast with Haze
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The Firemen's Ball
Rated
A very simple subject - a small town soiree for the local firemen, where everything goes wrong: the guests, the food, the accommodations, the beauty contest...while outside, a poor man's house is burning right to the ground. This movie came at the tail end of the Czech "New Wave", and since it wasn't released here until after the fall of Prague, and the end of Dubcek's period of liberalization, it never achieved the acclaim it deserved. But, to me , it's the gem of the entire "New Wave". It's also a beautiful structured and understated little masterpiece of comedy which stands comparison with the Chaplin and Keaton silents. The writer-director, Milos Forman, of course, emigrated to the States, and later gained all the praise he could have wanted--and perhaps a shade more than he deserved -- for his film of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
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