Pearls of the Deep is less a manifesto than it is an announcement of arrival. Entries cohere neither stylistically nor thematically, but more broadly they collectively evince a group of filmmakers coming to the fore with ideas about where cinema should go in Czechoslovakia and beyond.
"Mr. Balthazar's Death" (Menzel): Funny enough to keep from being forbiddingly beguiling, ultimately lands too softly. ***
"The Impostors" (Němec): Thin, visually bland. **
"House of Joy" (Schorm): Confounding, alluring comic look at the state interacting with art and coming away baffled. ***1/2
"The Restaurant the World" (Chytilová): Entirely inscrutable and crookedly hypnotic, with the best imagery of the omnibus. ****
"Romance" (Jireš): Lives up to its charmingly simple title and then rises above it. The film works both as a sugary meet-cute and a statement on the place of Gypsy culture within Czech society. Final editing joke is hilarious, pessimistic. ****