Czechoslovakia 71m, Colour
Director: Miloš Forman; Cast: Jan Vostrcil, Josef Sebánek, Josef Valnoha, Frantisek Debelka, Josef Kolb, Jan Stöckl
The Fireman’s Ball is a satire on Communism in its portrayal of a disastrous event that was planned by a local fire brigade to celebrate the 86th birthday of their now retired fire chief. Playing much like a silent comedy, the film includes slapstick elements such as the chasing of reluctant beauty contestants in a hastily organized pageant. Likewise, the event’s highly anticipated raffle is ruined when the guests craftily pilfer all of the prizes out from under a “guarded” table. This is a thoroughly charming and subtle farce with a genuine melancholy conclusion that is surprisingly effective and reminiscent of many of Chaplin productions (Klaus Ming March 2013).