Jiří Menzel’s treatment of sacrifice

  • 1 Bond University, , Gold Coast, Australia


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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • ARENDT, H. (1995): Men in dark times. New York: Harvest Books.

  • ARENS, K. (2016): Hannah Arendt translates culture: Men in dark times. In: Monatshefte, 108(4), pp. 535–559.

  • BADIOU, A. (2013): Being and event, trans. O. Feltham. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • BATAILLE, G. (1990): Hegel, death and sacrifice, trans. J. Strauss. In: Yale French Studies, 78, pp. 9–28.

  • HADOT, P. (1995): Philosophy as a way of life, trans. M. Chase. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

  • HAMES, P. (1985): The Czechoslovak New Wave. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • LEVINAS, E. (2006): Humanism of the Other, trans. N. Poller. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.

  • MARTIN, S. (2013): New waves in cinema. London: Kamera Books.

  • MURPHY, A. (1995): Violence and the philosophical imaginary. New York: SUNY Press.

  • OWEN, J. (2011): Avant-Garde to New Wave: Czechoslovak cinema. Surrealism and the Sixties. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

  • PATOČKA, J. (1996): Heretical essays on the philosophy of history, trans. E. Kohák. Chicago, IL: Open Court.

  • PYNSENT, R. (1994): Questions of Identity: Czech and Slovak Ideas of Nationality and Personality. Budapest: Central European University Press.

  • ŠKVORECKÝ, J. (1973): All the bright Young Men and Women, trans. M. Schonberg. Toronto: Peter Martin Associates.

  • ŠKVORECKÝ, J. (1982): Jiří Menzel and the history of Closely watched trains. Boulder: East European Monographs.

  • TESSMAN, L. (2005): Burdened virtues: Virtue ethics for liberatory struggles. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Journal + Issues