Monday, July 20, 2020

Milos Forman's Loves of a Blond

Milos Forman’s Loves of a Blond (1965) is a parable of depersonalization and ultimately totalitarianism. The women out number the men in the Czech town of Zruc by a ratio of 16 to 1. The factory manager determines that soldiers need to be brought in if only to keep the morale of his female workers up. There are numerous memorable vignettes which constitute the choregraphy of the film and rings are a repetitive motif. The film opens up with a scene in the dormitory occupied by all the woman workers. Andula (Hana Brejchova), the blond of the film is showing a ring she’s received from her boyfriend, Tonda (Antonin Blazejovsky) to a fellow worker who hands run up and down hers. It’s a wonderful contrast to the assembly on which the women also work with their hands. There’s eventually a welcome dance during which the wedding ring which another soldier has been trying to hide falls from his hand rolling across the floor and under the table where three women factory workers are sitting. As he crawls on his knees to find it, a glass of beer falls on his back. By the way, the music in the movie is part of the poetry. A woman guitarist with a guttural voice opens up the film with watered down Beatles. Her discordant, earpiercing strumming is trying to be something it's not. The band with its flirtatious pianist (who becomes another of Andula's loves  and tells her "you're also like guitar by Picasso") is itself a trope. Everything, in this farce, is a negotiation. The soldiers discuss what to do about the women (“I thought we’d take them somewhere make them feel good then each one takes the one he likes,”one says). The women conspire on how to parry the advances. Loves of a Blond is a socialist realist Ring Cycle with commodification replacing passion. Andula drops Toda for the pianist, Milda (Vladimir Puchoft) and the two find each other each other through another series of negotiations in which shared pain and scars become the currency of their encounter. Quid pro quos become sight gags. Andula's crotch is covered by the back of Milda's head while a fallen blind is rolled up just in time to hide his groin. The hilarious bedroom scene at the end finds Milda negotiating the blanket of the bed he shares with his aging parents, while Andula overhears the bickering from an adjacent room.

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