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Czech Republic, 2012, 113 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Poland
Genre/Subjects: Comedy, Dark Comedy
Program: Contemporary World CinemaLanguage: Czech, Polish English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Marek Najbrt
Producer: Milan Kuchynka, Grzegorz MadejEditor: Pavel HrdlickaScreenwriter: Benjamin Tucek, Robert Geisler, Marek NajbrtCinematographer: Miloslav HolmanPrincipal Cast: Pavel Liška, Tomáš Matonoha, Marek Daniel, Josef Polášek
The gentle hilarity of this absurdist film, directed by Marek Najbrt (Protektor), harks back to the classic Czech comedies of that country’s 1960s artistic renaissance (before it was crushed by the Russians in 1968). Four actors in their 40s who went to university together decide to make a film. There’s baggage between them, which they try to deal with. But finally they just throw in their lot together—the ups and downs of their careers have made this idea irresistibly appealing to their vanity.
The leader of this little cabal exploits a tabloid’s “exposé” to gain attention and sympathy for the film. They bring in an inexperienced, video-blog-addicted director, and secure financing from a Polish “suit,” who insists they cast his beautiful girlfriend as the star. The suit hires his own “expert on Czech comedy,” and moves the production from Brno to Krakow. This is only the start of their troubles, as their own problems come into play—financial, marital, sexual, and religious. They wrestle with one another’s volatility and the sweeping changes to the script mandated by their benefactor, who has decided the humor in the film is insufficiently Polish. But when everything goes awry, they rally and somehow come through for one another—in an absurdist way, of course.
Starring Pavel Liška, Tomáš Matonoha, Josef Polášek, and Marek Daniel as themselves, this faux documentary (à la Christopher Guest) expertly plays the thin line between reality and farce.
- VAL MOSES
In cooperation with Bohemian Productions, Honorary Consulate for the Czech Republic of Colorado
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