|Pavel Branko, STRATY A
NÁLEZY 1948 - 1998.
This publication of a beautiful
selection of articles on film as an art form and film as a means of intervention
in our societies covers the work of a life-time, or almost so. Pavel Branko,
a film critic and translator, was born April 27, 1921 in Czechoslovakia.
A member of the antifascist Resistance and, after his arrest, a political
prisoner, he welcomed the liberation of Czechoslovakia by the Red Army
in 1945. Always a humanist with a strong awareness of the social
dimensions of art, he was soon disillusioned by the day-to-day reality
of "real socialism". As a consequence, he "gave up any attempt to publish
film criticism" between 1952 and 1955, and "reverted to the business of
translation" instead. In the sixties, known as the period of the
Czechoslovak film miracle, he eagerly took part in the movement and lived
the most productive time of his life. He took part in the Prague
Spring in 1968 and shared many of the hopes invested in the "socialism
with a human face" then proclaimed. Subsequently "blacklisted as
a film publicist," he tried, until 1975, to write about noteworthy motion
pictures anonymously. Several of these articles were published with the
help of friends who "loaned" their names... After 1975 he did not see a
possibility to keep on writing; this time the fact that he was again blacklisted
outlawed his activities as a translator as well, and so he retired.
After 1989 he returned to film publicism. Already in his eighties now,
Pavel Branko is still actively engaged in the business of film criticism.