For Reel

The White Dove (1960)
June 8, 2011, 8:33 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Frantisek Vlácil

The first feature film of the overlooked Czech director Frantisek Vlácil, The White Dove premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1961 and would help usher in the Czech New Wave of the 1960s. Nearly wordless, the film is a simple allegory about two young children in Belgium and Prague who are united by a white dove. Flight is a motif that would follow Vlácil throughout much of his career – in Glass Skies, one of his short films, a young boy aspires to become a pilot. In Vlácil’s world, it quite often serves as an image of liberation – whether from sociopolitical bindings or inner anguish – and, although uplifting in The White Dove, it can be used to taunt his heroes, such as the doomed lovers-on-the-run in The Shadow of the Fern. Most memorable about The White Dove is its cinematography – much of the film is shot behind panes of glass or even a large fence that surrounds the boy’s apartment complex, juxtaposing the flightless bird with the child’s own isolation.

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