The Firemen's Ball was banned "permanently and forever" by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1968, as Soviet troops marched in to suppress a popular uprising. It was said to be a veiled attack on the Soviet system and its bureaucracy, a charge Forman, (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus) who died in April this year, prudently denied at the time but later happily agreed with. Telling a seductively mild and humorous story about a retirement fete for an elderly fireman, the movie pokes fun at citizens' committees, the culture of thievery and solutions that surrender to problems. Restored film courtesy of Czech National Film Archive.

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