The central characters in the new Czech film Rhythm On My Heels are young jazz musicians and their friends. They are ensnared in a plot by the communist party’s intelligence wing to concoct a case branding them anti-communist activitsts. This powerful film is directed by Andrea Sedláčková and acted by a vibrant cast. It is based on Josef Škvoreckýs book The Tenor Saxophonist’s Story. Many in the audience for last night’s screening at Seattle’s Town Hall lived through the communist occupation of Czechoslovakia (1948-1990). The emotions of that debilitating period of the nation’s history showed in their faces as they watched the film, which was shot on location in Prague. This paragraph is from the program for a screening last week in New York.
The story takes place in Czechoslovakia in the fifties and is “a musical tragedy” about love. Main character Danny is the alter ego of Josef Skvorecky himself. Danny is passionate about beautiful girls and jazz, but at the wrong time in a country where communist regime considers this music be way too imperialistic for young people. Danny and his friends form a jazz band and try to live a normal life in a strange world, where one’s destiny is shaped by politics, secret police and undercover agents who might as well be those beautiful girls.
Screened at international film festivals, the film had showings this week in Los
Bassist Clipper Anderson and drummer Don Kinney rounded out the Viklický rhythm section. To read about their concert on a previous US visit by Viklický, click here. To read about his connection with Škvorecký, go here.
Wayne Jehlik, the Czech consul in Seattle, reports that efforts are afoot to arrange for US distribution of a DVD of Rhythm On My Heels. For its dramatic content, acting, Ms. Sedláčková’s directing and Viklický’s vivid music, the film is worthy of theatrical release here.