Archive of films Intimate Lighting / Intimní osvětlení

1965, 70 min

Section: Out of the Past
Year: 2016

Screened as a newly restored print, this feature debut by Ivan Passer, then 32, etched its name into the annals of cinema in the Czech environment and beyond. The essence of its timeless appeal was captured by a critic for The New York Times who wrote: “It is one of those very special movies that does not so much reveal new secrets each time you see it as confirm a justness and good humor that was never hidden.”


Petr heads out of town to visit Bambas, his former classmate from the conservatoire who has organised a concert with the local musicians. Essentially, nothing much else happens in the film – the two drink and chat late into the night, they play some music together.... By all accounts Petr, who brought his attractive girlfriend with him, hasn’t settled down and is enjoying his freedom. Bambas, on the other hand, has a house full of screaming kids and he’s at the beck and call of his mother-in-law and especially his jovial and active father-in-law. He’s set to play at a funeral as well – the house isn’t finished and every penny helps. The two friends haven’t seen each other for ten years and now they’re trying to determine exactly what remains of their youthful ideals. Bambas feels he’s dug himself in too deep, but Petr perhaps wouldn’t mind swapping places with him. The film, constructed from trivial moments, gentle barbed humour and wisps of melancholy, is akin to that proverbial drop of rain through which we view the world: with insight and authenticity it speaks of the crisis facing 30-somethings and of the things that constitute our entire lives.

Intimate Lighting is another film which is being screened for the first time in its digitally restored version before an international audience at the Karlovy Vary festival. The rigorous restoration process was financed by the Czech Film Foundation and the UPP postproduction house, where the work was undertaken in cooperation with Soundsquare sound studio.

Zdena Škapová

About the director

Ivan Passer (b. 1933, Prague), screenwriter and director, only managed to shoot one medium-length film and one feature during the 1960s before emigrating to the USA in 1968; nevertheless, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of the New Wave. Together with Jaroslav Papoušek and Miloš Forman he wrote the scripts for all of Forman’s Czech films, and he shares common ground with the latter in his way of viewing reality and in his use of stylistic approaches. These include withholding plot elements in favour of detailed observation, concentration on characters, and emphasis on the authentic depiction of everyday experiences. In the USA he shot around 20 films on varying themes, the majority of which, despite their tendency towards more traditional story-telling, bear the hallmarks of his directorial style. His films include Born to Win (1971), Cutter’s Way (1981), Haunted Summer (1988) and Stalin (1992).


National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, DCP

Section: Out of the Past
Director: Ivan Passer
Screenplay: Jaroslav Papoušek, Václav Šašek, Ivan Passer
Dir. of Photography: Josef Střecha, Miroslav Ondříček
Music: Antonín Dvořák, W. A. Mozart, Vojtěch Matyáš Jírovec
Editor: Jiřina Lukešová
Art Director: Karel Černý
Producer: František Sandr
Production: Filmové studio Barrandov
Cast: Karel Blažek, Zdeněk Bezušek, Věra Křesadlová, Jan Vostrčil, Jaroslava Štědrá, Vlastimila Vlková
Sales: National Film Archive
Distributor: National Film Archive


Ivan Passer

Screenwriter / Film Director

Václav Šašek


Petr Šikoš

Petrana Slámová

Tomáš Žůrek

Sales Agent


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