The Czech surrealist underground
Klub Křenová, also known as Esenc, belonged to the most progressive musical clubs in Brno in the 1970s and 1980s. At the time, the club didn’t only focus on music but also film. The Esenc group has been connected to a number of significant personalities through the years.
These occasionally included for example Vladimíra Smutná, Tereza Babrajová, and Martin Vašica. The core of the group was Milan Šouba also known as “Had” (the Snake), Ladislav Flamengo Myslivec, Ivan Smýkal, and the group’s founder Jiří Smýkal Donné.
The work of Jiří Smýkal Donné and his friends is saturated with film poetics inspired by dadaism, expressionism, and surrealism. It also merges strong imagery with tawdriness.
It should also be noted that an award-winning documentary was shot about Jiří Smýkal Donné in the 1980s (Údržbář – 1984, directed by Martin Vašica, FAMU).
Aside from live action films, he also made a number of underground documentaries (e.g. Ronsontýdeník). Nowadays he only makes films sporadically, usually his own clips while he works on a monumental book on the history of Brno’s 1960s bigbeat.
Porcelánová opera (1982) – won bronze at the B16 festival, won bronze in Velden
Fantomea (1985) – won bronze at the B16 festival
Bludný balvan (1987)
Films presented on original 16mm film reels.
Introduction and discussion: Jiří Smýkal Donné