A factory manager in rural Czechoslovakia bargains with the army to send men to the area, to boost the morale of his young female workers, deprived of male company since the local boys have... See full summary »
Middle-aged Antonin and his friends, the major, now retired, and the canon, are in the river, swimming and philosophizing. Then it starts to rain. It just seems to be that sort of summer. ... See full summary »
The fire department in a small town is having a big party when the ex-boss of the department celebrates his 86th birthday. The whole town is invited but things don't go as planned. Someone ... See full summary »
In the 1950's, Ludvik Jahn was expelled from the Communist Party and the University by his fellow students, because of a politically incorrect note he sent to his girlfriend. Fifteen years ... See full summary »
Petr is 17 years old and starts work. Incredibly (for Czechoslovakia in 1963) this is as a security worker against shoplifting in a busy self-service shop. His boss gives him pretty basic instructions, and Petr is pretty unsuccessful at work. He doesn't do much better at the dancehall either, and at home his bombastic father lectures him about how useless he is. Written by
Hazel Freeman <email@example.com>
This brought to mind CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS, another early Czech New Wave film about a teenage apprentice who's none too excited about his work. Both are coming-of-age comedies with some moments of awkward teen romance. This film (Forman's first feature) actually predates Menzel's, and has more of a freeform, anecdotal structure. Although not explicitly a commentary on Communism, Petr's distaste for spying on customers clearly has some political implications. The film has a gentle, naturalistic pace with scenes that have a nice attention to detail. Ladislav Jakim struck me as a fine young actor, and I liked how the rival boy gradually developed into a more sympathetic character (particularly during the dance scene, which was my favorite part of the movie). Jan Vostrcil, the wonderful lead in Firemen's Ball, perhaps lays it on a little thick as the overbearing father, but it's a somewhat humorous performance. Although the comedy is quite mellow and subdued, there are a few laugh out loud moments. Unfortunately, the Facets DVD sports an ugly transfer, and woefully incomplete subtitles. Entire swaths of dialogue went by without translation.
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