Jiří Menzel’s treatment of sacrifice

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Abstract

The paper explores the philosophical treatment of sacrifice in four of Jiří Menzel’s films of the 1960’s, Closely observed trains (Ostře sledované vlaky), Capricious summer (Rozmarné léto), Mr Balthazar’s death (Smrt pana Baltazara), his short film contribution to the anthology film of the New Wave, Pearls of the deep (Perličky na dně), and Larks on a string (Skřivánci na niti). The paper argues that Menzel problematizes romanticized versions of messianic sacrifice as they all too easily disregard the moral significance of mundane relations. By analysing the treatment of sacrifice in each of these films, the paper makes a case for the significance of Menzel’s treatment of sacrifice for current philosophical debates.

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