Who is Joseph Kilian? The film does not answer this question because comrade Kilian is nowhere to be found. Similarly vanished without a trace is the cat rental shop from which Herold, the protagonist of the film, hired a shaggy kitty. Trying to avoid the past due fee, poor Harold makes every effort to locate the mysteriously disappeared shop. With the cat stuffed into his briefcase, he enters the maze of corridors, waiting rooms and offices – a labyrinth of absurd where the mundane and the everyday are interlaced with dreamlike irrationality.
Pavel Jurácek considers „Joseph Kilián” his best work and the film earned Jurácek a solid place in the pantheon of Czech cinema. One of the most distinctive and provocative representatives of the Czech new wave, Jurácek only managed to direct four films before being banished from the film studios in the early 1970s.
Using the 35mm original negative, the film was digitised and restored in 4K by Hungarian Filmlab, under the supervision of the Czech National Film Archive, in 2015. The camera negative is preserved by the National Film Archive of the Czech Republic.
In this bitingly satirical film Peter Slovan, a continuous source of trouble for the film functionaries of the socialist Slovakia, tackles an evergreen topic – the corruptive effects of power. Barnabáš Kos, a triangle player at a symphonic orchestra, is suddenly promoted to serve as the head of the said institution, even though both he and his superiors deem him completely unfit for the task. Encouraged in equal parts by this unexpected recognition and the servile praise of his colleagues, Kos’s modesty starts to gradually vanish. The erstwhile bashful and aloof percussionist quickly becomes aware of the advantages of his new office, and begins to realise his increasingly ludicrous artistic ambitions. Ultimately, the submissive marionette turns into a source of public humiliation, and his astonishing career finds an abrupt end. Orchestra serves here as a microcosm that grotesquely reflects the absurd and tragicomic mechanisms of the paranoid apparatus of power.
Digitised in 4K and restored in 2K, based on the 35mm camera negative, by the National Film Archive of the Slovak Film Institute. The original film elements are preserved by the National Film Archive of the Slovak Film Institute.