The debut film from the modernist marvel of the Czech New Wave, František Vláčil, has been restored and released by British DVD label Second Run. The film, from 1960 and entitled The White Dove, is a thinly veiled Christian parable about a wheelchair-bound boy who injures and then nurses a messenger bird back to health.
Vláčil and his Czech cohort seem to be something of a favorite over at Second Run. They’ve already released Miloš Forman’s debut film Audition, Diamonds of the Night by Jan Němec, Larks on a String by Jiří Menzel, and Intimate Lighting by Ivan Passer. They’ve also put out a group of titles that have also made their way into the Criterion Collection like Loves of a Blonde by Forman, The Cremator by Juraj Herz, A Report on the Party and Guests and by Němec, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders by Jaromil Jireš, and Daisies by Věra Chytilová. They also previously put out a few of Vláčil’s own films like The Valley of the Bees, his first color film Adelheid, and Marketa Lazarová, which got its own Criterion spine number earlier this year.
Hopefully this means that more restorations of Vláčil’s films will follow up into the Collection including his debut, but if you’re in the UK and are lucky enough to pick up a copy of The White Dove you should definitely check it out. I’ve regrettably never seen the film, but if Vláčil’s overall style is any indication it will be highly symbolic and poetic, though to me the storyline seems to be reminiscient of something like Ken Loach’s Kes.
I’m such a huge fan of the Czech New Wave. What do you guys think?