The Joke

From Tue 17 to Sun 22 Oct

Based on Kundera’s first novel and one of the iconic films of the Czech New Wave, The Joke is a tragi-comic story set against the backdrop of the period of developing socialism and Stalinist repression in 1950s Czechoslovakia. Ludvík returns to his hometown for a traditional folk festival and by chance meets the wife of his former friend, Pavel. It was because of Pavel that Ludvík’s life was ruined by expulsion from the Communist party and university fifteen years earlier following a political joke. Seizing the opportunity, Ludvík plots his revenge by seducing his wife only for life to play a joke on him…

Co-written by Kundera himself, the film proved too much for the authorities: it was banned for twenty years and Kundera had to self-exile to France.


As part of the Adapting Milan Kundera film series.



Special Screening

The screening on 17 October will be introduced by Prof. Peter Hames (Staffordshire University), author of The Czechoslovak New Wave (1985) and Czech and Slovak Cinema (2010)

Organised in collaboration with the Czech Centre London –