Summer Film Festival 4 Elements


After All… a Beginning 

The round-anniversary, ending-with-an-eight year 2018 understandably raises questions about the meaning of various, not always happy, ends in the history of Czechoslovakia. The Summer Film Festival 4 Elements also celebrates this year the 20th anniversary and since February we have been remembering all of its certainly happier beginnings and ends.

There are not many things that can give film viewers such a clear idea – and often also cause amusement – as the convention of happy ending. And there are not many things in film that we can so quickly associate mainly with the Hollywood film production. We all know happy ends (they make us happy), but in the film history and theory, it is a strange phenomenon that has not been given, for its seeming transparency, proper critical attention. It is definitely not just a matter of Tinseltown. Happy ending is considered a standard, something predictable, typical, necessary, required, expected, usual. And above all: cliché. David Bordwell points out the omnipresence of happy endings in Hollywood cinema, when he states that out of one hundred randomly selected films more than sixty used at the end an image of a couple in love or ended in some other optimistic, carefree, positive way (recovery, victory, escape, freedom, new journey).

A film ending does not have to be just conventional and positive. Even in Hollywood classics it is not always clear. I will only mention Casablanca. Or Some Like It Hot. However, it is very difficult to create a surprising ending and question in the finale all that has been seen and told. Therefore, we can regard as a happy end every clever, open, subversive, elemental, multidimensional, or enquiring ending. Because each end is just a door to a new beginning. Films produce films. And also cause addiction to them, as claims Frank Capra. It is a never-ending story of the flow of film images in the “cinematic bloodstream” of every viewer.

Martin Kaňuch