This movie is based on texts of Bohumil Hrabal, world-known Czech prosaic. It's a story (in a form of a mosaic of short episodes and pictures) about the sadness and happiness of inhabitants... See full summary »
An opera troupe in a small town decides to perform Mozart's Don Giovanni. The view behind the scenes uncovers the world of opera without the glitter. A tale of love and disappointment, ... See full summary »
There are still water spirits among us. One group lives in Prague, led by Mr. Wassermann, who is using his wife's family as servants. All they need is their old house near the river. But ... See full summary »
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Czechoslovakia, 1963. Jan Díte is released from prison after serving 15 years. He goes into semi exile in a deserted village near the German border. In flashbacks, he tells his story: he's a small, clever and quick-witted young man, stubbornly naïve, a vendor at a train station. Thanks to a patron, he becomes a waiter at upscale hotels and restaurants. We see him discover how the wealthy tick and how to please women. He strives to be a millionaire with his own hotel. Before the war, he meets Líza, a German woman in Prague. Is this his ticket to wealth or his undoing? Meanwhile, we see Jan putting a life together after prison: why was he sentenced, and who will he become? Written by
Jan sees a train full of people being deported to a concentration camp. A closeup of one of the cars shows men within wearing gray and white striped uniforms. However, deportees were sent to the camps wearing their civilian clothes and weren't issued uniforms until after they arrived. See more »
Jan Díte, older:
A person becomes most human, often against his own will, when he begins to founder, when he is derailed and deprived of order.
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Menzel's film is a modern masterpiece. It tells the story of one man's fate, as seen through the mythical pen of Bohumil Hrabal, one of the greatest Czech writers of the 20th century. The film is interspersed with documentary footage of the occupation of the remnants of the Czech republic in 1939. It tells how one man grows up in one system, survives another, and willingly submits himself to a third (Communist). The slogan "my happiness was always in the fact that some unhappiness overtook me" belongs to the East European theater of the absurd. For those of you who have seen the amazing performance of Julia Jentsch in "Sophie Scholl - The Last Days" it will come as a surprise, if not a shock, to see Ms. Jentsch play a character exactly opposite to the one which brought her such fame -- a true blue Nazi! But that's what great actors are made of -- anti-Nazi heroine this year, Nazi lover of the main protagonist the next. She learned some Czech for this role, but when she speaks in German, the screen shows Czech subtitles. Some scenes are really priceless, as when Dite is escorted out of his hotel (presumably in 1948), by two members of the Communist people's militia who at first are inclined to allow him to stay on as administrator of his now nationalized enterprise, but when he keeps insisting he is a millionaire and needs to be arrested, they willingly oblige. Irony stays with us through the film, starting with the opening scene when the elder Dite is released from a Communist jail in Prague and he explains: "I was sentenced to 15 years (for being a millionaire), but because of the amnesty, I only had to sit for 14 and 3/4."
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