To the Woods  {Cesta do lesa}

To the Woods
Cesta do lesa

Czech Republic, 2012, 110 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subject: Drama
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: Czech English Sub-Titles

Having abandoned city life long ago, the Marak’s live in a quaint cottage on the outskirts of a small rural village. Honza (Tomás Hanák) earns a very modest living as a forest laborer, while his wife Marketa (Bara Schlesinger) works as a masseuse and alternative healer, making use of the hallucinatory mushrooms that grow wild in the film’s semi-fantastical state forest setting. Anyna (Anna Linhartová), their nymph-like, pubescent daughter, explores the verdant landscape by night, communicating with the stags that still make the endangered woodland their home.

It is in these wanderings that Anyna makes the acquaintance of locally born-and-bred forest ranger and hunter, Ludva (Tomás Vorel Jr.). Though the teen vegetarian is quick to criticize Ludva’s hobby, she comes to develop deeper feelings for her co-lead after he saves her from a detestable group of predatory sportsman. In the meantime, her pagan parents are persecuted by local authorities, with her mother being taken into custody for her popular magic mushroom séance. As their financial situation becomes increasingly dire, a solution emerges following an unexpected life change.

A sequel to Vorel’s successful Out of the City (2000), To the Woods is a comic celebration, ultimately, of West Bohemia’s surviving flora and fauna species. The director’s follow-up also pays tribute to the area’s woodsman and farmers, whose traditional mode of existence is perpetually threatened by urban encroachment. Destined to be one of this year’s most singular selections, To the Woods is an enchanting and truly eccentric work of Czech popular cinema.

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DIRECTOR: Tomas Vorel
Editor: Simon Hajek
Screenwriter: Bara Schlesinger, Tomas Vorel
Cinematographer: Tomas Vorel
Principal Cast: Tomas Vorel Jr., Anna Linhartova, Bolek Polivka, Eva Holubova, Tomas Hanak

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