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English Strawberries (2008)
"Anglické jahody" (original title)

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A drama centered on a Russian soldier who wants to defect to the West and a young Czech whose dreams of going to England to pick strawberries for the summer are dashed when Soviet tanks converge on Prague in August 1968.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ivan Lupták ...
Marie Stípková ...
Aleksey Bardukov ...
Pavla Tomicová ...
Viktor Preiss ...
Richard Zevel ...
Nella Boudová ...
Nina Divísková ...
Alexander Minajev ...
Hana Holisová ...
Sandra Pogodová ...
Milan Stehlík ...
Vladimír Brabec ...
Secret Policeman
Filip Rajmont ...


A drama centered on a Russian soldier who wants to defect to the West and a young Czech whose dreams of going to England to pick strawberries for the summer are dashed when Soviet tanks converge on Prague in August 1968.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War


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Release Date:

13 November 2008 (Czech Republic)  »

Also Known As:

Anglijskaja klubnika  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Playing the Victim
14 July 2015 | by (Kostroma City, the Volga river, Russia) – See all my reviews

Why Czechs and Slovaks dislike us Russians, can be seen in this film. I guess I would not be quite mistaken supposing that in Russia, even a History teacher would hardly ever tell about the 1968 Czechoslovak events to the schoolchildren while in Czech Republic and in quite recently independent Slovakia, those days of bless memory are known by heart as Pater Noster. Eager to comprehend THEIR truth, even though this is nothing but aiming at knowing the enemy, I made myself to find and watch the film 'Anglické jahody' which is rare in Russia.

You may blame me for psychological complexes, for bad taste – never mind, but those Czechs are always emphasising the sex topic, and it really disturbs me. The very first frame is the idyllic pic: on the eve of the Soviet intervention (which was, by the way, supported in word and deed by all the rest allies of the USSR, excluding Romania; but that fact is certainly not an insult for Czechs and Slovaks: there was no malice on any part but the USSR – they were all forced to join the evil Russians), the two cute Czech girls (moreover, one accompanied by her minor niece) are rowing their boat discussing pregnancy interruption remedies! The pregnant one is adviced to take certain drugs and in case they are unavailable, simply to ask a "true man" to squeeze everything out! Then, all throughout the film, the main characters – the female (exactly the little lady who was adviced to undergo the dreadful folk medicine procedure) and the male (her unlucky lover who is unaware of her, put it mildly, easy virtue or prefers neglecting it) – seem being uneasy about their future unwanted infant rather than about their country's fate (while many older people, men as well, on those days, do no less than crying and quenching their sorrow with stingo or even 'slivovice'). Also, there is a moment here when a person, about which even Czechs themselves would say 'it is what he is, a rural old man', having been drunk, urinates defiantly on the side of the Soviet patrol. What is absolutely honest in this moment (causing wild delight among the patriotic Czechs and Slovaks), is that none of the soldiers succumbed to the provocation. None even seemed to mind it in the least. But the man was quite sure he was safe, he would not dare committing that otherwise!

Altogether, the film reflects all those cynical realities well; accusing it of lie could be unfair, whilst lie is likely to be used when filming a piece of propaganda where one is praised and the other is demonised. The Czechoslovaks did not venture on any kind of a serious resistance in 1968. Since then, our guys hardly used arms at all. For instance, far more Hungarians in 1956 and even Azerbaijanis in 1990 fell the victims of the 'Russian aggression'. At 'Prague Spring' suppressing, casualties were scarce and accidental which is reflected in the film 'Anglické jahody'. Two teenagers got some prop firearms on the set of some WW II film and played a joke with aiming at a group of Soviet troops. One of us shoots that kid in feet – and eventually, he dies due to delayed medical aid. So, dear devotees of democracy and Western values, be sure: the Soviet military operation was held with maximum moderation and civilisation. But that is one thing; quite another is that the USSR is the Evil Empire anyway and the very fact of feeble effort in the western direction, even bloodless at all, is considered by the Western world to be just another proof of the Russian Bear's notoriety. Whilst Czech Republic is treated as a friend all in all by the West. Thus, 'Anglické jahody' main character, embodying the Czech youth, finds his homeland the unlucky ancestors' shelter and is eager to flee to England, so that he gets strawberry picking seasonal job there. What? Strawberry is already gone? Then apples... Whatever to pick, the goal is getting away westwards from the parents, leaving them with their 'slivovice' bottle and dreams of disserving the 'evil Russian Communists'!

What are we Russians in this film? For reasons of convenience, the Ukraine actors have been invited for playing Russians. Not bad, but they do speak Russian with accent. However, why the units could not consist mainly of the Ukraine guys; or of the guys from the regions which are not far from the Ukraine (lots of Russian people, especially in the Southwest and South of European Russia, have more or less of the Ukraine accent). They are not bloody horned demons but simple youngsters ordered to do in Czechoslovakia nothing but cordoning off and guarding everything. One of the main characters, a Soviet deserter, makes friends with the Czech sweethearts as he, just like the Czech guy, is eager to flee to the West: why not try to escape over the Iron Curtain if one had a chance. The main male character hardly knows a single Russian word; while his girlfriend, quite a chick, speaks Russian fluently and you know what? she makes eyes at the 'bloody occupant' not in the way a polite girl should...

And beyond all that Apocalypse of good old Czechoslovakia, some male performer of this country is singing at a measured pace but hysterically, in Russian with a slight accent, something like: my good son, a hero you think you are?!

A single note of the approaching Russian troops is often enough to make people in the zone of Russian interests immediately understand: resistance is futile. But is there anyone combating the opposing force? Well, in the Dutch film 'Lily Was Here', local Dutch nationalists killed an American serviceman. Not everyone does not mind about foreign troops in homeland! But what to do if you are from neither of the two superpowers! Sad but true!

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