The whimsical Capricious Summer is an early comedy from Czech-born Jirí Menzel, director of I Served the King of England. Picture three middle-aged vacationers at a summer resort — their plans for rest and relaxation hijacked when a circus tightrope walker and his enticing daughter arrive on the scene.
Director Jiří Menzel remains one of the most internationally prominent of all Czech directors, often named alongside Miloš Forman. Made when he was 29, Capricious Summer was selected to open the 1968 New York Film Festival.
Capricious Summer was adapted from a 1927 novel by Vladislav Vancura, an influential Czech writer who in the twenties had been part of the Marxist avant-garde group Devetsil, which advocated for a political revolution in art; Vancura was executed by the Nazis in 1942 for being part of the Communist resistance. Despite this sober lineage, Capricious Summer is a cheerful film; in Czechoslovakia, it was one of the least controversial and highest-grossing works of the New Wave.