I first saw Ropaci in Oberhausen, Germany, when Jan Sverak entered it into the International Short Film Festival there and won the Till Eulenspiegel award for the best satirical film. It's a wonderful spoof documentary following a team on its quest for the oil gobbler, an animal that has evolved to be the perfect denizen of a polluted world. Loathed by the locals for its voracious habit of eating anything plastic, from wellington boots to the protective sleeves farmers put round their saplings to prevent them being eaten by other animals, the ropaci is an elusive specimen and has the team - and thus the audience - intrigued. Finally, they catch it on film - and then manage to capture a young one that they want to take back home with them. The perils of their journey from the pollution-ridden Bohemian basin back through the clean, fresh air of the forest prove too much for the little creature and they come up with an ingenious way of saving it. This is a very clever, very funny film that I would love to have a copy of so that I could watch it again. As with many good satires, there's a lot of serious thought behind what makes it funny. Jan Sverak is a genius. We should see more of his work outside his own country. If you ever get a chance to see this one, don't miss it!
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