Petr, youthful, quiet, and sensitive, comes from Prague to teach natural science in a country town. The gruff principal asks what he's running from and predicts he'll be gone in six months....
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Petr, youthful, quiet, and sensitive, comes from Prague to teach natural science in a country town. The gruff principal asks what he's running from and predicts he'll be gone in six months. Marie, a widow with a teen son, Lada, befriends Petr. She's lonely. Petr does some chores at her farm and watches Lada with his weekend girlfriend, Bara. We meet Petr's parents and understand some of why he left Prague, then Petr's friend Mihi pays a visit and we understand more. Mihi throws a wrench in things, and Lada comes to Petr for help. Has Petr found his place in the world, but what about his nature?Written by
1. The portrayal of gays here is essentially a cinematic echo of the 1950s message that gay people portrayed in cinema are inwardly tortured, victims, tragic, predatory, paedophile and troublemakers. Also that when the drama of their homosexuality is finally revealed it is the cause of a terrible terrible thing. This film manages to tick every single on of these boxes which is utterly unforgivable considering it was made in 2008.
There is no excuse for this. There are dozens of films portraying gay people currently being released which specifically turn their backs on these well known negative conceits and i accuse the director of falling into the trap of being homophobic and uninformed about his subject or the genre in which he posits his movie. (Gay themed film.)
2. The director also makes the mistake of portraying rural people as essentially unsophisticated and mistrusting of the urban folk. It is silently given that they would be prejudice against the secret being harboured by the school teacher because they are small minded.
However as a gay person who grew up in a very rural village, i would point out that rural people are not so small minded and heterosexually strident as portrayed. Rural people look after their own and protect what is theirs. Consequently you will find in rural communities that many different kinds of strange relationships are totally accepted and understood and that a simple village person is not so clueless about the extraordinary variations of human nature.
The director did not understand the rural condition and so having built up the boy's mother to be a woman of depth and substance he reduced her by causing her reaction to homosexuality to be so disproportionally traumatic. It didn't make sense at all. It's not such a big deal. But it was made a big deal because nobody was really ever good friends with each other in this film. I didn't buy the tears and drama. It was wrong. I think she would have been much more clued up and confrontational and suffice to say she needed to produce any other reaction other than the one she made in order for this movie to break the mold.
This film was made by someone who doesn't quite grasp the nature of the contexts he portrays. It was a missed opportunity to play against the usual clichés and he eventually fell into all the well worn and outmoded narrative traps that cinematic discourse has spent the past 30 years exposing.
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