Prefab Story | Chicago Reader

Prefab Story

Czech director-writer Vera Chytilova punctures the myth of a workers' paradise in this kaleidoscopic 1979 look at a sprawling apartment complex on the outskirts of Prague. As menacing cranes hoist concrete slabs to complete more anonymous high-rises, residents find fault with their units and each other. Relying on handheld camera, Chytilova follows some of them—a pregnant housewife, an old man, a dandyish actor, a harried superintendent, a rowdy boy—but she's more interested in style than people, using distorted angles, whiplash zooms, jagged editing, and a wailing jazz sound track to create an unsettling and claustrophobic mood. In Czech with subtitles. 96 min.

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