Barking Boxshot

Czechoslovakia, 1969

Length / Feature: 95 minutes
Length / Special features: 37 minutes
1.0 Mono LPCM (48k/24-bit)
Original aspect ratio: 1:66:1
Language: Czech
Subtitles: English

Blu-Ray: BD50 / 1080p
Region ABC (Region Free)
Blu-Ray RRP: £19.99

Release Date: 18 July 2022
Second Run BD054


Shot in 1968, whilst Czechoslovakia enjoyed a brief moment of political liberalisation, Larks on a String is a searing political satire from director Jiří Menzel and writer Bohumil Hrabal. Like their earlier Oscar-winning triumph Closely Observed Trains, it audaciously combines black humour with grim reality. Set in a scrap metal yard where dissidents are interned to be ‘re-educated’, the film is both a powerful critique of totalitarianism and a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit.

Promptly banned by the Communist regime, the film remained unseen until 1990, when it was released to great acclaim, winning the grand prize at the Berlin Film Festival. Now regarded as a lost masterpiece, Menzel's wry comic drama is a hymn to humanity and nonconformity.

Larks on a String is presented from a glorious new 4K restoration and makes its world premiere on Blu-ray.

Our edition also contains tw interviews with the late director, a new newly recorded Projection Booth audio commentary with film historians Mike White and Jonathan Owen, Menzel's 1963 short film Our Dear Mister Foerster Died (Umřel nám pan Foerster) - plus a booklet featuring a new essay by author and Czechoslovak cinema specialist Peter Hames.

more about the film

Blonde Stills

Special Features

• Larks on a String (Skřivánci na niti, 1969) presented from an HD transfer of the new 4K restoration by the Czech National Film Archive.

• Jiří Menzel: 7 Questions: an idiosyncratic reflection on the film and its history, shot by the late director in 2011 specially for Second Run.

• Menzel in discussion with filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.

• A newly-recorded Projection Booth audio commentary with Mike White and Jonathan Owen.

• Our Dear Mister Foerster Died (Umřel nám pan Foerster, 1963) - a restored early short film by Jiří Menzel.

• Trailer

• 20-page booklet featuring an essay by author Peter Hames and an introduction by cinematographer Jaromír Šofr.

• New and improved English subtitle translation.

• Region free Blu-ray (A/B/C).

• World premiere on Blu-ray.

Related Titles

Directed by Jiří Menzel

Screenplay by Bohumil Hrabal and Jiří Menzel
Adapted from stories by Bohumil Hrabal
Cinematography - Jaromir Šofr
Art Direction - Oldřich Bosák
Music - Jiří Šust
Editing - Jiřina Lukešová
Sound - Jiří Pavlík

Main Cast
Rudolf Hrušínský – Union foreman
Václav Neckář – Pavel
Jitka Zelenohorská – Jitka
Vlastmil Brodský – Professor
Vladimír Ptáček – Milkman
Leos Suchařípa – Lawyer
Ferdinand Krůta – Kudla
Naďa Urbanková – Lenka
Frantisek Řehák – Drobeček
Jaroslav Satoranský – Guard Anděl (Angel)

Related Titles

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur's acclaimed documentary
CzechMate - In Search of Jiří Menzel
and many other gems of Czechoslovak cinema
are also availble on Second Run

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1990 Berlin Film Festival / Winner: Golden Bear Award

“Menzel’s deceptively gentle, covertly merciless satire... [a] subversive masterpiece of life behind the Iron Curtain”
Scott Foundas, Film Comment

“At once a stinging indictment of the repressive politics of Czechoslovakia's past and an endearing comedy/love story... Larks on a String looks totalitarianism straight in the eye and, instead of spitting, laughs”
Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

“This long-suppressed Czechoslovak film offers a trenchant blend of playfulness and political satire”
Janet Maslin, New York Times

“Light and sunny, buoyant and dangerously lyrical”
LA Times

“The film is a clear commentary on not just the absurdity of Communism, but also its criminality”
Ivana Košulicová, CER Central Europe Review

“This brilliantly acted film [is], in equal measures, bittersweet, ironic and yes, darkly comic, but more importantly, quietly disturbing in its bleak portrayal of a dismal socio-political environment and absolutely mesmerizing, absorbing and fulfilling for its viewers” Cinemascope

“A delightful stinging comedy” Boston Herald

“A sort of lyric Orwellian burlesque ...Full of mirth and pity, Larks on a String sings a bittersweet melody”
Washington Post

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