Even more so than in later of scenes of vengeful retribution, the bawdy tone of the narrative's catalyst - the rape scene - engenders great discomfort as attack verges into slapstick territory and begins to resemble a Carry On film. It's a fantastic and sharp turnabout, adopting a genre that often undermines women to present the darker extremes of precisely that to shock and appal. The woman, Lenka (Zuzana Stivínová), then has her vengeance when she feigns amnesia after a knock on the head and drugs her attackers when they escort her home. They awake to find their entitled manliness taken from them in brutal fashion. Despite the righteousness of her actions, though, Lenka is portrayed as have reacted in the extreme. This is not the case of satisfied and titillating revenge fantasy and Chytilová has no interest in easy answers. All three of the characters involved are irrevocably damaged by the events even as the audience chuckles as the ghastly men staggering along in pain. Their occupations also allow for wider stinging attacks on contemporary Czech society - an ad man and a local government official; purveyors not just of lies but the oppressive sexual politics that provide the misogynistic milieu. It's to the credit of the wonderful Chytilová that she tackles all of this amid queasy absurdist humour that can't help but make you laugh while your stomach churns.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson