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Czech Republic, 2008, 88 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Coming of Age, Drama, Foreign, Romance
Program: Contemporary World CinemaLanguage: Czech English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Michaela Pavlátová
Producer: Katerina Cerná, Petr OukropecEditor: Tonicka JankováScreenwriter: Irena HejdováCinematographer: Martin ŠtrbaPrincipal Cast: Martha Issová, Jirí Mádl, Lenka Termerová, Jan Dolanský, David Novotný, Kristýna Nováková
Ofka, a young borderline misanthrope, observes the instability of her own life as if from a distance. Though she dabbles in art, the lethargic Ofka chooses to work nights at a convenience store owned by her brother-in-law instead of studying for a career. But when her boyfriend jilts her and the store is robbed during her shift, Ofka gets a jolt in the direction of adulthood. As her self-absorption begins to dissipate, she starts to see things more clearly—like the fact that her friend Ubr loves her from afar. His crush goes unrequited, but Ofka rejects his advances with a kindness that signifies her progression from childishness to maturity. Though there is no grand revelation for Ofka, she feels the earth gradually shifting beneath her feet—taking her closer to a place where she can hold on to those she loves.
Night Owls was shot mainly in the Karlin district of Prague, where modern architecture has rapidly replaced the old, and—in screenwriter Irena Hejdová’s words—“everything is changing.” Cold, damp, and bleak as it seems, however, Ofka need only move out of the shadows and into the light of a doorway to discover a multitude of possibilities. The story of her awakening is a departure for director Michaela Pavlátová, better known for animated shorts that have garnered her both an Oscar nomination and a Golden Bear at the Berlinale.
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