This weekend producer-director Ivan Reitman, a native Czechoslovakian, will present at the American Cinematheque at the Directors Guild "The Banned & the Beautiful: A Survey of Czechoslovak Filmmaking, 1965-70." All 11 films in the retrospective ran afoul of the censors after the 1968 Soviet invasion. Only one of the 11, Ivan Passer's 1965 "Intimate Lightning," has had a regular run at a local theater. The films are being presented at the Guild, 7920 Sunset Blvd., in association with the LA Weekly, Joseph Papp's Film at the Public and the Pacific Film Archive.
Among the key films are Jaromil Jires' 1968 "The Joke" (screening Saturday at 7:15 p.m.) and Dusan Hanak's 1969 "Diagnosis 322" (at 9 p.m. Saturday). None of the well-known films of the short-lived Czech New Wave of the '60s prepares us for the impact of "The Joke," which Milan Kundera and Jires adapted from Kundera's novel. It's a work of devilishly deceptive simplicity: Ludvik (Josef Somr), a dark, compact man of perhaps 40, is being interviewed by a vivacious TV reporter (Jana Ditetova) when he realizes that she is married to an old enemy--and that he could easily seduce her as a way of revenge.