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The Idiot Returns (1999)

Návrat idiota (original title)
Frantisek, the main character is returning to his family. Until now he's been, "successfully" avoiding all relationships. He is an ingenuous and a pure person and thus, is regarded as an ... See full summary »


Sasa Gedeon


Fyodor Dostoevsky (novel), Sasa Gedeon
27 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Pavel Liska ... Frantisek
Anna Geislerová ... Anna
Tatiana Vilhelmová ... Olga
Jirí Langmajer ... Emil
Jirí Machácek ... Robert
Zdena Hadrbolcová ... Mother of Emil and Robert
Jitka Smutná ... Mother of Anna and Olga
Pavel Marek Pavel Marek ... Mole
Anna Polívková ... Girl #1
Yvetta Janousková Yvetta Janousková ... Girl #2
Petra Kolárová Petra Kolárová ... Girl #3
Josef Oplt Josef Oplt ... Dance master
Petr Vydra ... Dance courses assistant
Michal Rausar Michal Rausar ... Schoolboy
Alena Olahová Alena Olahová ... Waitress


Frantisek, the main character is returning to his family. Until now he's been, "successfully" avoiding all relationships. He is an ingenuous and a pure person and thus, is regarded as an idiot. He becomes involved in various love and family conflicts. It is because he hasn't experienced much of the "real" life that he is able to perceive human relationships in their genuineness. Written by Pavel Smutny

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


First impressions of second loves.


Romance | Comedy | Drama


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Czech Republic's official submission to 72nd Academy Award's Foreign Language in 2000. See more »


Version of L'amour braque (1985) See more »

User Reviews

James Cole's kid cousin at the Firemen's Ball
20 October 2000 | by achryaSee all my reviews

A person arrives from an institution into the "normal" world and sees our everyday reality with fresh eyes. What is normal? What is sane? Where does reality end and dreams begin? Can a pure, vulnerable person cause his segment of the world to clean itself from a contagion that threatens to wipe it out?

These questions and characteristics are equally relevant to the Czech movie "The Idiot Returns" and to Terry Gilliam's "12 monkeys". The basic difference is one of scale: in "12 monkeys", James Cole is expected to save the entire human race from a deadly virus, while Frantisek in "The Idiot Returns" blunders into a maze of tainted personal relationships within the circle of a family. James is physically and mentally strong in order to have a chance to withstand the strain of time travel, while the most challenging journey Frantisek makes is the train trip from his mental institution to the small town that his relatives live in. The two protagonists are strikingly similar in that it is their openness and vulnerability that enables them to become the catalysts of a hopeful development. James perceives objects of wonder in a spider, corny music on the radio, even the open air itself. Frantisek sees something good in everyone, holds no grudges, can find a positive interpretation for every seemingly nasty utterance or reaction.

Nonetheless, "The Idiot Returns" is a thoroughly Czech movie. We find none of the usual trappings of mainstream American film: there are no firearms in evidence, the physical violence is as restricted as it is significant, quarrels happen mostly between the lines of dialogue instead of outright in Ricki Lake-ish shrieks. In particular the dance hall scenes, the trivial fun and games while people's individual universes are falling apart, bring us right back into Forman's "The Firemen's Ball", together with his particular variety of Feliniesque parades of bizarre-looking characters.

Those of us with a Central European background get jolted right back into a familiar claustrophobia of meticulously tidy Christmas sitting-rooms and the keeping up of appearances, where people over coffee and cookies participate in carefully subdued mental dog fights that would make any sane person renounce family life forever. ("We have to show Frantisek what it's like to be a family!" Yeah. Right.)

And yet James Cole and Frantisek are at least cousins, each of them adapted to their own corner of the woods. If "12 monkeys" is a big concerto, "Návrat idiota" is a string quartet, or rather a clarinet quintet (a foursome and one divergent voice) - over the same theme.

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Czech Republic | Germany



Release Date:

25 February 1999 (Czech Republic) See more »

Also Known As:

Return of the Idiot See more »

Filming Locations:

Brno, Czech Republic See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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