One of the most influential women in Czech film, Ester Krumbachov, would have celebrated her 100th birthday


Until 1969, when the incoming normalization regime forbade her to work, Krumbachov managed to establish herself as a screenwriter.

A native of Brno and thus a graduate of the art school there, she excelled in many legendary films artistically and sometimes also in terms of screenwriting. She collaborated with Jan Nmec, who was one of her husbands, Vra Chytilová, Vojtě Jasn and Karel Kachya.

Ptelstv with Chytilová

Her work can be seen in Diamonds of the Night, the musical Kdyby tisc clarinet, the dramas Kor do Vdn, Muednci lsky, O festnosti a hostech, Sedmikrsky, Vichni dob rodci or Fruits of the Tree of Paradise.

We really caught each other’s eye immediately, it was completely late. In the view of the world, in the overview of human existence, in the sense of humor. We worked in perfect harmony. Later, I was very confused about it, what was it, because Ester could be excited, impassive, muttering and throwing out her husband, or she hesitated, and then I didn’t see her, I remembered Krumbachová, her companion Vra Chytilov, who in 2005 filmed the documentary Pattern after Esther.

Ester Krumbachov

Most of the people who knew her closely spoke about the unpredictability of Ester Krumbachov, she was blamed for her unpredictable nature. She was multi-talented, had a magical voice. His way of thinking really stood the test of time, she said. That’s why I’m sad when I was reduced to a femme fatale, described his personality by the courtesan Kateina Svatoov, who two years ago prepared a unique installation about Krumbachov in the Brno House of Arts.

Krumbach’s father left Slovakia and made a living as a businesswoman, his mother-teacher had Jewish roots. Although the family was spared the Nazi persecution, young Ester did nothing and was forced to be deployed in Berlin.

I do not recognize authority

After the train, I had the feeling that maybe I wouldn’t be able to do it at all, and I really made up my mind when I was about ten, said Krumbachov in an interview, who, according to Josef Kvorecki, also participated in the resistance. Her unrestrained nature just laughed at the atmosphere of the 50s, she refused to greet you.

My basic mistake is probably that I never learned to recognize the lower authority, said Krumbachov, who prefers to wear manual labor after walking around the city decorated with communist symbols. She boasted that she had tried almost everything except prostitution and grave-digging.

She got into the arts in the mid-1950s, when she started working as a publicity officer in the Esko Budjovice theater. A few days later, the director Ji Machek, who was working in Budjovice at the time, saw him and let Krumbachová design the set and costumes for his productions.

They soon became life partners, and when Machek got a role in the Prague Municipal Theater in 1956, Ester Krumbachov also fell in love with Prague. After the theater, in the late 1960s, they were able to make films. She worked on the science fiction Mu from the first century (1961), later she designed the costumes for the musical Kdyby tisc clarinet (1964), and for the great drama by director Zbyk Brynych and the fifth rider is Strach (1964), she was also involved in technical design. As screenwriter and author of the film, Krumbach can be found in the titles of many other films.

In addition, her bones were able to express the overall feel of the film. The first thing that was surprising about Estee was how she was able to combine a spontaneous reaction with an inner logic, how she was able to give deep meaning even to seemingly insignificant trifles, wrote director Jaromil Jire, for example.

I lacked patience

At the end of the 1960s, Krumbachov had costumes for a number of films (including You Trezor’s Ear) and was given the opportunity to film her own. The comedy Vrada ing.erta (1970), which she wrote, designed and directed, was not very successful. Perhaps that’s why he lacked persistence and patience.

Ester Krumbachov in the documentary Ptrn po Ester

During normalization, she devoted herself to writing, made feathers or painted postcards, and was thus allowed to speak on foreign film boards. At the beginning of the 1980s, she and Vra Chytilová wrote the final film Faunov very late in the afternoon (1983), otherwise she could have worked on the film after November 1989. As a director, she shot a portrait of Jan Nmec, who was his first model, and created a film for the Gen series about sister Vlovch and the profile of Ota Ornest.

According to her words, Krumbachov did not fit into the old regime, and the communist one drank blood exclusively, and she was not able to move fully even in the new circumstances. She also published a book of short stories, designed costumes for the film Marian (1996), so her unrestrained nature was evident. The problems in his life were related to alcohol.

Maybe it was somehow his self-defense against loneliness. She always had someone to drink with, someone who made sense of it, she remembered her pet friend Vra Chytilov.

Toward the end of her life, she lived alone in a broken apartment, her main companions were coke and her friends from the wet district. She died on January 13, 1996 at the age of 72. The truth is that she drank, she didn’t drink like many gni, and she didn’t want to limit herself in the direction of the day. She wanted you all the way. It was a pleasure to observe her, how easily she was able to win the sympathy and admiration even of those who were inclined to mock her and make her silent, said Chytilova, Krumbach’s birdie.

The article is in Czech

Tags: influential women Czech film Ester Krumbachov celebrated #100th birthday


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