The White Dove / Josef Kilián

Film Review by Josh Slater-Williams | 22 Oct 2013
  • The White Dove
Film title: The White Dove / Josef Kilián
Director: František Vláčil / Pavel Juráček & Jan Schmidt
Starring: Karel Smyczek, Vjaceslav Irmanov, Katerina Irmanovová, Pavel Bartl
Release date: 28 Oct
Certificate: PG

Before Kes, Czech master František Vláčil's 1960 feature debut The White Dove told of another young boy caring for a prized bird, here a carrier pigeon intended for a small island in the Baltic Sea that gets lost in Prague along the way. Míša (Smyczek), a child seemingly unable to walk, shoots and injures the bird with a pellet gun. His artist neighbour seeks to make the boy feel the full weight of his actions regarding this likely fatality, but it is Míša’s faith that helps rehabilitate the bird, as well as conquer his own psychological condition.

Thriving as both humanist tale and survival fable regarding totalitarianism at the time, this is a haunting film of oft-stunning visual poetry – its haunting imagery is enriched by Zdeněk Liška’s frequently otherwordly score. Pavel Juráček and Jan Schmidt’s Kafka-inspired comedy short Josef Kilián, once suppressed after the Soviet invasion, is paired with Vláčil's film in this set. [Josh Slater-Williams]

The White Dove and Josef Kilián are released in a DVD set 28 Oct by Second Run


• A unique double-bill of new digital transfers with restored picture and sound

• New and improved English subtitle translations

• 24-page booklet featuring essays on both films by author and film programmer Peter Hames

• World premiere release on DVD for Josef Kilián