The Sun in a Net

Slnko v sieti
Director: Štefan Uher

Czechoslovakia, Drama, 1962, 90 min

A student, Oldrich “Fajolo” Fajtak, has a romantic attachment to two girls: his hometown love Bela, and Jana - a lover whom he meets during a summer job on a collective farm. One storyline of the film peels layers off Bela's permanently tense home life marked by her blind mother's helplessness, her father's past break with his father who lives in the village where Fajolo is finding some consolation in the arms of his new lover Jana. As Fajolo begins to pry into Bela's grandfather's secrets, she, in turn, allows her new boyfriend Peťo to read and deride Fajolo's remorseful letters from the farm. This lovers’ triangle provides the film with several oppositions: town and country, intelligentsia and worker, collective and personal truth in communist Czechoslovakia. The potential symbolism of the film appeared ominous to the Communist authorities bent on banning the film, but the nascent political thaw helped the filmmakers prevail and the release of “The Sun in a Net” became its harbinger in Czechoslovak film and culture.

About the director:
A Slovak film director, Štefan Uher (1930–1993) was one of the founders of the Czechoslovak New Wave – artistic expression opposite to the romanticizing style and cinematic idealisations typical of socialist realism, propagated by the communist regime. Štefan Uher’s cinematic idiom is as exquisite and deliberate as any of his European contemporaries, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman and Chris Marker. Uher graduated from the FAMU (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts) in Prague in 1955. After some short films the director made his first feature film “We from Study Group 9-A” (My z deviatej A, 1962) about the life of a group of 15-year-old students and their school. In 1962 he made the second film “The Sun in a Net” (Slnko v sieti) that became a key film in the development of the Czechoslovak New Wave – socially critical or experimental films of the 1960s marked by a gradual relaxation of the communist control. In connection with this film some of Uher’s contemporaries called him the "John the Baptist" of a whole young generation, the first modern director not only in Slovakia but also in the Czech-speaking lands. “The Sun in a Net” started Uher‘s friendship and artistic cooperation with the author-screenwriter Alfonz Bednar and the cinematographer Stanislav Szomolanyi. The trio also cooperated on the films “The Organ” (Organ, 1964) and “Three Daughters” (Tri dcéry, 1967).
Section: Films of the Golden Period: Slovak New Wave

Screenplay: Alfonz Bednár

Dir. of Photography: Stanislav Szomolányi

Music: Ilja Zeljenka

Cast: Marián Bielik, Jana Beláková, Eliška Nosáľová, Ľubo Roman