Once upon a time there was a prince, Jaroslav, who's two other brothers had fallen in love with a beautiful and yet mysterious princess from a painting. His brothers had gone far away to ... See full summary »
A tale about love, forgiveness and the ability to help others selflessly. Angel Petronel (Ivan Trojan) is a charming muddle-pate, whatever he touches he wrecks or ruins, even the honorable office he is entrusted with as Guardian of the Heavenly Gate. By way of punishment, God (Jirí Bartoska) sends him down to Earth, so that he learns about how hard it is to live a blameless life. But what a calamity it becomes, having this scatterbrain try to convince people that he is God's messenger! Moreover, what can one expect of an angel who is naive enough to believe that Uriah the Devil (Jirí Dvorák) is his friend! Luckily he has support up in Heaven - all the saints and their miracles. Finally he grows wise, he is even willing to go to hell in order to help the blossoming of a romance between the Count and his impoverished Dorothy. Written by
Czech film center
The main problem of this film is that it has been initially made for TV only and wasn't intended for the big screen - and this shows terribly. What could have been an average TV movie has now the looks of a sloppy mess : the design, the effects, everything looks way too poor for a story taking place in Heaven and on a castle. The script is way too talkative - everything is said rather than showed (personnaly, I believe very strongly in the emotional and narrative power of images in movie-making, as a good example, I would quote Terrence Malick's last two films). The acting was under the average : the actors didn't seem to understand, and even less to believe in what they were saying. The camera was rather good, but waisted on a way too conventional directing. The only good thing about it is that this is the first Czech film after the fall of communism that deals with a Christian subject in a way that does not look like propaganda (neither for nor against Christianity) - which is rather pleasing but not enough to make it a good film. And then...
... the film has an extraordinary score by composer Milos Bok - which is why I am bothering to leave this comment. The music is just wonderful : strong, beautifully written - it sounds like a modern Wagner, complex and yet directly understandable to all. I have bought the soundtrack (which is for sale on the Internet) which made me realize something else : the music tells the story much better than the film itself, and as such, even the score damages the film, because it gives you a vivid feeling about how the original material could have led to a nice film, were it handled by more gifted people. Which leads me to the conclusion : it does not mater how much money you have, the thing is to believe in what you are doing - and having a little care for professionality (which include thinking about how to do things the best appropriate way).
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