May Fairy Tale (1926)


This unknown Czech silent film was given a second life by a careful restoration and a presentation at the Karlovy Vary festival in 2015 in the sidebar program ‘Out of the Past’. 

I could experience this surprising film at a screening of an open air cinema in a rail yard of a former freight train station in Prague. It was part of the second season for the Czech National Film Archive at this Cultural Center at %u017Di%u017Ekov Freight Railway Station. The industrial heritage site hosts the open air cinema, as well as theatre performances, several exhibitions and public discussions. More information about the Cultural Center’s program is available at the website nakladovenadrazizizkov.com.
 
In a small village on the Czech countryside lives a family, a couple with three daughters. The film is partly the depiction of rural life, with enchanting scenes of various folklore festivals, the village dance ball and the beautiful awaking of nature in spring. As a contrast, city life is depicted through humorous scenes in crowded pubs, set in Prague and Vienna. For another part the film tells the melodramatic stories of the three daughters. To keep it short, one dies, one become a prostitute and the third find her true love.
 
The film is clearly situated in a men’s world, and that causes a lot of misery. For instance, men are allowed to seduce young girls and betray them. And men are allowed to study and to be lazy. The stern family father acknowledges at the end that he acted foolish towards his daughters and also the lazy student gets to his senses. But for two of the three girls, this character development manifests itself too late.
 
May Fairy Tale (Pohádka máje)
Directed by Karel Anton. Based upon the novel by Vilém Mrštík.
Czechoslovak Republic, 1926, 114 min.
Screened with live music by the band Neuv%u011B%u0159itelno.
 
Documentation
http://www.kviff.com/en/programme/film/3315754-may-fairy-tale