Forman’s film, Loves of a Blonde (1965), is the story of survival in a totalitarian state. The every day lives and concerns from the factory worker to the factory manager to the musician are viewed through the prism of that environment.
The film opens with a plain looking girl playing her guitar and singing a song about hooligans. At the end of the opening credits, the camera pans to reveal a dormitory and table with the guitar and a couple of cups and a half empty bottle of milk. The simple settings and medium shots evoke hard times and people working to make the best of them
One of the girls, the factory worker Andula, shows off a ring and lets her friend try it on. The close up two shot of them in the same bed also evokes a sense of sharing all they have, including stories, hopes, and rings. When asked what the color of her boyfriend’s eyes are, she responds that she does not know, indicating that their meetings were secretive, that they did not stare into each other’s eyes, and that they in fact know very little about each other. But what they do have is a commitment signified by the ring. As it turns out it’s a false commitment, which is the moral of the film.
The deathly quiet in the forest scene is accentuated by the crunch of boots in the snow. The crunch tells us it’s a cold and silent environment. The rows of homogenous trees are like factory workers going to and fro from work. The one with the tie wrapped around it, stands out because of its individuality. Its strangeness is so stark a soldier suggests it could scare a deer (nature; the natural order of a socialist society). The message is that the natural order of things is to blend in so as not to be noticed. This natural order of things in society as well is the second motif of the film.
The medium close ups of the soldier and Andula, who retrieves the tie, allows us to connect emotionally with both characters. They are lonely people in a desolate world; as lonely as the individual that individuated tree. As Andula approaches the tie, she passes the soldier who is foregrounded, establishing the hierarchy. When the soldier tells her she can’t just go ahead and tie ties around trees, he’s really telling her that one individually dressed up tree, would lead to the whole forest being dressed up, upsetting the conformity that rules in nature as well as society.
In another scene a factory worker, looking in through glass, observes factory managers and military leaders discussing the worker’s lives, which allows us to see what’s going on (only her eyes are visible); suggesting that they can also see what’s going on, but are unable to speak out regarding both the factory and their place in society. The factory worker’s only has one role in society: to meet their quota.
The scene between Andula and the piano player has an extreme close up of their hands as they grasp the handles to a door. By allowing us to see the scars on the girls wrists, we can relate to the emotionally toughness required of the typical worker to survive. Andula after all, did not let a broken blade deter her attempt. (The comment about the blade breaking is most likely also dark humor about the reliability of consumer products under socialism). This scene also allows us to see the disregard he has for her as a person, and the control he exerts over the door handles, a gateway to another life.
The young piano player we learn later makes considerably more than his father does after a lifetime of work. This allows the piano player to consider himself above the level of a factory worker and shows no inclination to be truthful with Andula as he tries to get her into bed with him. In other words, the piano player represents a class that does not formally exist within socialism: a class above, and therefore not answerable to, Andula.
The question for Andula centers on trust. Her mother has failed her (the reason for her suicide attempt), and her boyfriend hasn’t returned. The shallowness of the piano player comes out as he screws Andula, just as the socialism in the film screws the worker – the weakest member of that society. What she wants more than anything is to find someone to which she can entrust her hopes.
When she takes the piano player at his word and visits his home, his mother invites Andula in to ask her a question. She says she won’t hurt, but we come to learn differently. Their callous discussion of Andula in the parent’s bedroom is comical at times, and the strength of this scene is at the end when Andula is shown on the other side of the door weeping; her weeping a counterpoint to the dismissiveness of the trio inside the bedroom. Andula is destined to look further for hope, having had the promise of commitment betrayed once again.