Petr (Ladislav Jakim)

After being under the control of the Nazis during WWII, Czechoslovakia fell under the control of the Soviets. However, for a brief period of time, starting in the 1960’s, the cold thawed just enough for a golden age in their cinema to occur. Milos Forman is probably the most famous director to emerge during that period seeing as he would go on to make One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus. Black Peter was his first feature film.

It follows a boy named Petr in his new job, his time with kids his age, and his time with the previous generation. He has an odd job. He is supposed to blend in with the customers in a store in order to watch for shoplifting. He isn’t very good and usually ends up standing and staring at people. When out among kids his age he doesn’t have any real direction even though he has a girl whereas the other guys and girls seem incapable of even talking to each other. With the owner of the store or his parents he encounters the generation gap that only seems to be bridgeable when he shares a naked painting with the owner and they both share a good look.

In a lot of ways, this film resembles The 400 Blows complete with a freeze frame at the end. However, if you go on to see Forman’s Loves Of A Blonde and The Firemen’s Ball you will see both his sense of humor and realist style in this film. It’s worth a look.