Toyen

Czech Republic 2005. Director: Jan Němec
Cast: Zuzana Stivínová, Jan Budař, Tobiáš Jirous, Marek Bouda

VANCOUVER PREMIERE! ► Jan Němec’s strange, striking film renders in dreamlike fashion something of the art and life of Czech Surrealist painter Toyen, played here by actress Zuzana Stivínová. The impressionistic drama is set in wartime Prague, where Toyen hides poet Jindřich Heisler from the Gestapo. “In one of the most enigmatic films of his career, Němec uses an abstract structure to create this portrait of Toyen, whose ambiguously-gendered name was given to her by fellow Surrealist Jindřich Štyrský. The film, true to the subject’s own style ... disintegrates into hallucinatory visions, attempting to reveal the images that fuelled Toyen’s imagination through a series of associations” (IK). “An idiosyncratic vision on the theme of Toyen and her destiny. Němec is guided by the intuition and empathy of a poet, linking up fragments and details in such a way that, via association, he begins to reveal what fired her imagination ... We sense the constant agitation of the artist’s creative spirit ... [and] the terrifying physical presence of two totalitarian regimes” (Karlovy Vary I.F.F.). Colour, 35mm, in Czech with English subtitles. 63 mins.