Scala Diaries: Czech Double

Following the downright success of the season’s launch night, and off the back of  a John Waters double that was “packed to capacity”, London Scalaites descended on the Roxy Bar and Screen again last night for Filmbar70′s double offering of Czech cinema. An unprecedented turn out for a Monday night,  and although the Jamesons cocktails were perhaps enjoyed more moderately, the crowd filled the venue to it’s warm, cosy best. Amongst the usual devotees were also an encouraging number of Czech speaking audience members to enjoy the fare, a promising sign the Scala Forever season is reaching further than the usual offbeat film fans.

First of the features was Morgiana. Following a narrative resemblant to that of Snow White, the out of favour and aesthetically more challenged, Viktoria, plots to poison her popular and wealthy sister, Klara to a waltzing and incessant soundtrack that is perfectly evocative. It is a dark fairytale throughout encompassing dashing servicemen, sporting an enviable array of facial hair dos, good, evil, evil pets…all accompanied by stunning and sumptuous visuals. This is not to mention the most unsettling nun I had ever seen (before  setting down to watch Valerie and Her Week of Wonders that is).Valerie… follows Valerie, as she embarks on a surreal adventure through puberty having vampires; all manner of SINISTER clergy and a gawky looking, first love interest with an impressive disappearing act complicating things along the way. (Okay so perhaps the last one is familiar to a few?) Once again a visual delight, chit chat post screening concerned pagan subtexts and subtle sexiness.

Adam and Justin chose the theme for this, their debut Scala Forever screening, on the basis that “both these films sit somewhere between the spirit of Scala and what we would normally do at Filmbar70″. Adam kindly later elaborated that the widely unknown, East European art house films were fitting as, beyond the fact they are thoroughly enjoyable,  the Scala was always a place to see curios you wouldn’t find in other places. “We’re learning about these films together”…