Husband (senior ministry official) and wife find their house is riddled with listening devices put there by his own ministry. A harrowing night follows (reminiscent of 'Who's Afraid Of ... See full summary »
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Husband (senior ministry official) and wife find their house is riddled with listening devices put there by his own ministry. A harrowing night follows (reminiscent of 'Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf'), and the resolution is _worse_ than being carted off to jail... Written by
Stephen Simmonds <email@example.com>
This is an outstanding film, even by the standards of the Czech New Wave and a hundred times better that The Lives of Others which covers similar ground and won much acclaim and the Oscar for Foreign Film- which just confirms that the process of critical evaluation and film recognition is grossly unfair. The only reason Ucho is not on any Best Film lists is because is was made in the wrong place at the wrong time. In fact I am also baffled that it every got made at all- I see how it got banned, but how did anyone get the studio to make it?
So what makes the film outstanding?...well everything really: Like all the Czech films of this period, it is great in every department.
Very good photography cutting from the pitch black house (shot entirely by candlight- no mean feat technically) to the crossly overlit party. At the party, there is a lot of virtuosic hand held camera and wide angle point of view shots as the man slips in uncut sequence from intense gossip huddle to gossip huddle. These shots alone are remarkable.
Acting- the core of the film is the disintegrating relationship between the man and his alcoholic wife it's like Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff but with the added edge that every accusation she makes of him is overheard and potentially going to destroy them. It's very well acted.
Music and sound- typically of Czech films, a minimalist modern score with a very skillful post dub sound edit and mix
Script- beautifully nuanced...maybe drags a little in the middle, but it takes on a huge challenge and it does it very well
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