In the former Czechoslovakia, 1950s, police captain Hakl investigates a jewelery robbery. An opened safe deposit leads to a known burglar. What seems an easy case soon starts to tangle. ... See full summary »
Bittersweet comedy from Ondrej Trojan - "Obcanský prukaz", based on book by Petr Sabach about four teenage boys, their friends, parents, lovers - from the moment when they are 15 to moment ... See full summary »
In 2054, Paris is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Casting a shadow over everything is the city's largest company, Avalon, which insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export -- youth and beauty. In this world of stark contrasts and rigid laws the populace is kept in line and accounted for.
Piel, a 7 or 8 year old boy, is alone on the desert planet Perdide, only survivor of an attack by giant hornets. Calling for help, Piel's father's friend Jaffar keeps contact with the kid ... See full summary »
A handmade stop-motion fairy tale for adults that tells the tale of the struggle between the aristocratic White Mice and the rustic Creatures Who Dwell Under the Oak over the doll of their heart's desire.
A man named Salem escapes from an insane asylum where he was confined for an axe-murder. Falsely convicted under a plea of "guilty due to insanity", he does not plan to let his sister and ... See full summary »
Set in 1989 at the end of the Communist era even as the Berlin Wall was falling, a humble train dispatcher who's lived all his life in a small hamlet on the Czech side of the Czech-Polish border has been tormented by disturbing dreams about what happened to his ethnic German babysitter at the end of WW II. At the same time, a strange man of few to no words (is he mute?) in his mid 40s, shows up in the small hamlet with an old photograph and an ax. Much ensues... Written by
This is characteristically Czech, after that worldview that has been shaped by centuries of being tossed from the sphere of one empire to the other and unable to do more than watch, this watching is usually a whimsy or a mute sadness in Czech films. From this view flows a disenchantment with power as well as morals and narrative that powers a lot of the life of representation over there, from independent-minded cinema right down to porn.
Painting instead of chronicle. The film is actually both, the chronicle only a series of moods about detachment from the world, centered on a weary station master in a remote post in the mountains who can only watch as night rolls down on the passing of things. There's smuggling going on to and from the border, this is how the activities of men are rendered here, as superficial schemes of an uninteresting importance. He is soon fired, takes his watching down to the city where no one cares. The backdrop is the fall of communism around the Bloc but this too reaches us as faint echoes from a TV or radio, there's no motivation for political discourse in any of this, only distance and disenchantment.
This is the treatise, about this man who can wander away from it all as passively as he sat and watched the machinations and how this nearly costs him the one prospect left for love. It's not terribly interesting, the detachment as weariness more than reflection.
The sketch is a bit more so, that's where the film derives all its power from. It's an animated film though it seems real people and locations were used for their nuance as the backdrop to sketch over. The animation is basically a shorthand here that lets the makers accentuate moods with a softer distance that you really have to strive to create with the camera. It worked for me, the dark mountains, mud and thankless vodka around a table with strangers seep into the bone with the rain and chill.
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