Film of the Day – Loves of a Blonde (Milos Forman, 1965) | DaysAreNumbers
From here on in I intend to follow Aneet’s cue, and on alternate days, after my esteemed colleague has offered you up another mind-blowing Single of the Day, I’m going to hit you with my Film of the Day.
“What could I do as my inaugral film of the day?”, I pondered. I decided I should begin with my favourite film, the film I normally say when people ask “What’s your favourite film?”. That’s a very difficult question to answer, and normally when I answer with “Probably… Loves of a Blonde” people say “Is that some sort of soft-core 70s porn film?”
Alas, it is not. Loves of a Blonde (or Lasky jedne plavovlasky, if you’re Czech) is a downbeat romantic comedy that, unlike most films that have the term applied to them, is actually romantic and is actually a comedy in the sense that it is witty and amusing. It is also most certainly downbeat.
The story concerns young factory worker Andula, living in a backwater town in communist Czechoslovakia, and dreaming of a more exciting life. Her town suffers from a chronic man shortage, so when the local branch of the communist party decide to hold a dance to encourage a bit of local romance, Andula and her friends decide to attend. After thwarting the amorous approaches of a bunch of puffed-out old soldiers, our heroine finds herself seduced by the comparatively sophisticated Milda, the pianist at the dance, and a native of seemingly exotic Prague. Milda flatters Andula with flowery false promises before hot-footing it back to the capital, with the intention of never seeing her again. But he’s in for a surprise, as a bored and disillusioned Andula decides to go after him, turning up on his doorstep one night with a shy smile and a suitcase. How will Milda’s long-suffering parents (with whom, to his shame, he still lives) react when they learn of their son’s philandering ways and are forced to accomodate his forlorn conquest?
Why is Loves of a Blonde my favourite film? Well, it’s got an absolute peach of a premise, for a start. The story is simple, sweet and uncomplicated, but with a million different possibilities; from the tragic to the comic and everything in between. It really delivers on these possibilities, too, but why wouldn’t it with a great director like Milos Forman behind the camera?
Yes, Milos Forman. Normally after people ask me “Is that some sort of soft-core 70s porn film?” I answer “No, It’s a Czech film from the 60s, directed by Milos Forman”. Then they say “Milos Forman who did One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest/Amadeus/The People Vs. Larry Flynt?” And, it is that Milos Forman. It is sadly overlooked, but before he made those (very fine) mainstream American hits, he made several wonderful films in his native Czechoslovakia, of which Loves of a Blonde is the best. But I digress…
Loves of a Blonde is one of those rare films that seems to reflect everything that is sad, funny and true about life, as I see it anyway. It is romantic without being cloying, poignant without being sentimental, funny without being contrived and melancholy without being overwrought. It’s full of the joy and pain of growing up, and the painfully comic results of coming unstuck around one’s elders. It is pitch-perfect and straight-forward, but Forman does manage to infuse proceedings with a dash of real cinematic verve, with a desperate dash for a runaway wedding ring on a crowded dance floor being one of my favourite scenes from any film of all time. It can also offer some fascinating socio-historical insight, for those who want it, as a remarkable portrait of day-to-day personal and private life behind the Iron Curtain. But it is a testament to the film’s gentle magic that this aspect is never once overplayed.
In my opinion, Loves of a Blonde is perfect. There is not one thing I would want changed about it, and I could watch it over and over and over again (and have done). It also ticks one of my peculiar fetish boxes by serving up a generous helping of Eastern European Rock ‘n’ Roll (see also two of my other favourite films, Do You Remember Dolly Bell? and Leningrad Cowboys Go America. I also own a bitchin’ compilation called Surfbeat Behind the Iron Curtain) with the kids getting down to some righteous twist at the communist dance. I don’t know what it is, but when the idealistic rigidity of Soviet communism meets the free-spirited frivilousness of American rock ‘n’ roll, I find it a combination that is hard to resist.
With that in mind, have a look at and a listen to the rocking opening song from Loves of a Blonde (sadly sans subtitles), and check out the whole film if you get a chance. You might not think it’s the greatest ever made (like I do), but you’re guaranteed to at least love it!