Intimate Lighting

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Paul Allen

Read Paul Allen's film review of Intimate Lighting
Intimate Lighting is a complex mixture of absurdity and regrets.
"" | Photo: Courtesy of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

The presentation of the film is, for a film of its age, very good. It has been digitally remastered and restored - and it shows both in terms of the print and the soundtrack.

The interview with Ivan Passer was shot in Los Angeles, December 2005. Given its gentle power and incredible maturity, it's hard to believe Intimate Lighting was only his second film. But even more astonishing were the circumstances that led to his involvement. As the softly spoken Czech reveals in this interview, he only agreed as a favour for a friend who needed the money.

Copy picture

The shooting was equally bizarre. His first choice of cinematographer wasn't properly accredited. He decided against using proper actors. And then the melancholy "sense of mystery" his leading man Karel Blazek (Bambas) carried about him was abruptly explained when he died of leukaemia six weeks after filming. He hadn't told anyone on set of his illness.

It's entirely fitting that Passer's wry musings on Intimate Lighting are full of odd little quirks. It feels, after all, like a strangely accidental film. But beyond these anecdotes, this half hour interview also sets the political scene that nurtured and then destroyed the Czech new wave movement.

One of the most enlightening revelations is that filmmakers in communist Czechoslovakia were paid regardless of whether they actually made films. Without any commercial pressures, directors like Passer were truly free. But when the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, they were not. Passer fled to America, and Intimate Lighting was (incredibly) banned for 20 years. Today, rightly proud of his celebrated work's enduring appeal, it's pretty clear who has had the last laugh.

Reviewed on: 28 Mar 2006
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Intimate Lighting packshot
Czech new wave classic about the reunion of two friends.
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Product Code: SECONDRUN009

Region: 0

Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame

Sound: Dolby Digital Mono

Extras: Newly filmed interview with director Ivan Passer

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