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The Firemen’s Ball (Blu-ray+DVD) Arrow


It’s the annual firemen’s ball in a small Czech town, and the organisers decide to liven up the usually dull event with a raffle and a beauty contest. But with the former plagued by thievery and the latter by bribery, the event rapidly descends into farce – and that’s before a fire breaks out…

The last film that Miloš Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus) made in his native country and language, The Firemen’s Ball is a sparkling comedy that’s also one of the best showcases of the director’s uncanny ability to extract flawless performances out of an entirely non-professional cast largely made up of actual firemen.

It was nominated for an Oscar, but the Czech Communist authorities were so convinced that it was a satirical allegory about official incompetence that the film was officially “banned forever”, or at least until the 1989 Velvet Revolution. It’s now regarded as one of the greatest of all Czech films.

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Special Features

New 4K restoration by the Czech National Film Archive
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Czech soundtrack in uncompressed PCM mono audio
Optional English subtitles
Appreciation by Czech film expert David Sorfa
Archival interviews with director Miloš Forman, cinematographer Miroslav Ond?í?ek and co-writer Ivan Passer
New Wave Faces: Michael Brooke salutes the non-professional actors who made an indelible impression on 1960s Czech cinema
Reversible sleeve featuring two pieces of artwork from the original release