The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Institute History

  • 1993 Sundance Film Festival


The Unbearable Lightness of Being is Kaufman's masterpiece, a richly textured, multilayered film based on a novel thought impossible to adapt. It is a perfect balance between a Vivid portrait of a time and place—Prague, Czechoslovakia, during its brief taste of freedom and the ensuing Russian repression of 1968—and a highly personal and moving story about three people in transition. Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a talented young brain surgeon who seems much more interested in women's bodies than his patients' heads. He has an ongoing, but open, relationship with Sabina (Lena Olin), a passionate artist. One day, by chance, he goes to a small town and meets Terela (Juliette Binoche), as intensely committed as he is uncommitted. It is an encounter which will alter their lives forever.

These three become moving points on a spectrum of responsibility to themselves, to each other and the people in their lives, and to society. It is also a line linking "lightness· and "heavyness," although each one defines these elements differently. Only as tlhe repression worsens in Prague do Tomas and Tereza begin to discover who they are. The film's final epiphanal sequence in the countryside is testimony to Kaufman's belief that even amidst chaos and despair, people can find great joy.

Wednesday Jan 27 10:15 am
Holiday Village Cinema II


— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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