News Karlovy Vary Film Festival To Present World Premiere Of Digitally Restored Film "Courage For Every Day"

Published: April 25, 2023| 10:01 AM

As part of its long-running project of premiering digitally restored copies of important works of Czech cinema, this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival will be showing Evald Schorm’s award-winning Courage for Every Day.

Schorm’s 1964 feature-length debut is a key work of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Based on a screenplay by Antonín Máša, the film took a new approach to exploring the moral crisis felt by the generation that experienced the social changes following the condemnation of Stalin’s cult of personality.

The main protagonist, the machine worker Jarda, is a youthful communist shock worker who thanks to his political engagement enjoyed a stellar career following the communist victory in 1948. But the new political course and new social developments following the criticism of Stalin are a rude awakening from false ideals, and Jarda finds himself unable to adapt to the new situation. Suddenly, the political activities that had brought recognition and success and had given his life meaning are the subject of ridicule, and he feels betrayed. Social disillusionment is combined with a personal crisis as the thirtysomething Jarda fails both in his professional life and in his relationship with the window dresser Věra.

At the time, Courage for Every Day, a provocative dramatic study of a man whose attempts at finding stability in life end in disaster, encountered significant ill will from the establishment and was even directly condemned by communist president Antonín Novotný. As a result, the film, starring Jan Kačer and Jana Brejchová, was released into cinemas a year behind schedule. The era’s critics, nevertheless welcomed it with great enthusiasm. Schorm’s film was the first to touch so openly on the crumbling ideals and bitterness of a generation that felt “betrayed by history.” Even so, official pressure caused news of the film receiving the domestic critics’ award to be suppressed.

One of the most respected domestic films of the 1960s, Courage for Every Day subsequently earned the Grand Prix at the 1966 Locarno International Film Festival and also took home a prize from the international festival of new cinema in Pesaro, Italy.

Courage for Every Day is another in a series of award-winning Czech films to be digitally restored thanks to financial support from Milada and Eduard Kučera. To date, some forty Czech films have been digitally restored in this way. As part of its specialized KVIFF Classics project, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival regularly includes renewed premieres of films whose digital restoration has been made possible by the Kučeras in its official program.

Performed in 2023 in collaboration with the National Film Archive and the State Fund for Cinema, the digital restoration process was done by UPP and Soundsquare​​ using an original negative image and original soundtrack stored at the National Film Archive.


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