Director Karel Kachyna gets his metaphors in early in Forbidden Dreams, otherwise known by its more evocative Czech title, Smrt krásných srnců (The Death of Beautiful Deer). Mr Popper (Karel Heřmánek), a Jewish vacuum cleaner salesman who can’t stop hopping into bed with his female customers, is out fishing in the countryside with his two eldest sons. Through his binoculars, he spots a herd of deer and he is struck by their beauty – but also spies danger threatening in the form of a hunting dog bearing down on the innocent creatures. The dog belongs to their grumpy uncle Karel (Rudolf Hrušínský), who loves getting his teeth into some freshly savaged venison. Mr Popper regards killing a deer as almost
The cinematic threequel is often a recipe for disappointment. The Jaws series had already jumped the shark before the third instalment fouled the water with its cheesy 3D money shots. Francis Ford Coppola waited 16 years before giving us a belated conclusion to The Godfather trilogy – it was an offer everyone was quite happy to refuse. Alien 3 has its defenders but it basically poured cold water over Ripley’s heroics in James Cameron’s rip-roaring second film, turning the franchise into a massive bummer. Of course, there are some great ones too. Return of the King completed the coronation of Peter Jackson’s Award-festooned adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. On the indie circuit, Before Midnight capped off Richard Linklater’s
Apart from being a familiar face in many of the Czech movies I’ve watched over the past two years, Bolek Polívka is omnipresent in my adopted hometown Brno. He stars in public service videos on the trams and peers out of billboards advertising his latest stage performances and is often spotted drinking in the bar at his theatre, Divadlo Bolka Polívky. His ubiquity also serves director Jan Hřebejk well in his hat trick of turn-of-the-century hits: Cosy Dens, Divided We Fall and Pupendo. A bittersweet comedy set in the early ’80s, Pupendo makes an entertaining companion piece to Cosy Dens. They focus on life under Communism, centred around families headed by two very different men, both physically and ideologically. Polívka
Autokino Strahov at Strahov stadium is a perfect opportunity for cinema fans who are looking for a safe and unusual option to watch movies even during the lockdown. Get in the car, grab some snacks, and enjoy the movie! Celebrate New Year with the modern classic by Quentin Tarantino Pulp Fiction is definitely a must-watch if you haven’t seen it yet. The film features non-linear storytelling with black humor and long dialogues, starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and others. Pulp Fiction is already included in almost every top of the best films as the pop culture treasure. Also, the film was awarded in Cannes as the best movie of 1994. A Western with strong characters and dangerous
Tomáš (Richard Krajčo) is possibly the movie-est movie optician in cinema history. He is a brooding tattooed hunk with rockstar looks who lives in a snowbound caravan just outside the Globus superstore where he works. With only his beloved horse to keep him company on those lonely nights spent listening to vinyl while looking smoulderingly handsome, he also juggles several affairs with local married women to fend off the solitude. He is always getting drunk and late for work, but that doesn’t matter – his boss is in love with him too. The only woman he shares a platonic relationship with is Nina (Vica Kerekes), a forlorn girl who works on the gift-wrapping counter, which must suck because she hates
While many Christmas movies in English-speaking countries tend to focus around the festive season and sometimes feature a jolly chap with a white beard and red winter gear, Czech festive viewing often centres on fairy tales. There is a long tradition of TV and film adaptations, from The Proud Princess (Pyšná Princezna) to the classic Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku). More recently, the popular father-and-son team of Zdeněk and Jan Svěrák got in on the action with Three Brothers, a cheerful fairy tale musical for kids that weaves together three very familiar tales. Svěrák Sr, who wrote the screenplay, has a nice role as the Teacher, a kindly scholar serving as the film’s narrator. In one of
The Czech-Slovak-French co-production SH_T HAPPENS, directed by FAMU students Michaela Mihályi and Dávid Štumpf, has qualified for the 2021 Oscar nominations. If it succeeds, it will be the second year running that a Czech animated film receives an Oscar nomination after Daria Kashcheeva’s Daughter made the list in 2020. I asked the producer of SH_T HAPPENS, Peter Badač, how he feels about being considered for the Oscars.
Here is the thing about Christmas films – most of them suck. There are very few true classics, which is why I’m really glad that Die Hard has entered the conversation over the last couple of years. Not only is it an awesome movie, but it is also very Christmassy, once you come to accept it as a legitimate choice as a Christmas flick. I’ve yet to feel any Christmas tingles this year, so I thought I’d check out some of the Czech festive offerings on Netflix to see if any of them would put me in the mood… First on my list was Little Baby Jesus (Prijde letos Jezísek?), a romantic comedy from Lenka Kny. As someone leaning more
A new documentary on the late rock star Frank Zappa contains multiple references to Prague. Zappa was the first major Western musician to visit the city after the Velvet Revolution and performed his last ever concert there in 1991. But why was he so popular with the Czech underground?
Reader, I screwed up. It was deadline day for my latest review and I was up against it, having just moved into a new house in the countryside. The place doesn’t have a working kitchen, bathroom or heating system. As I type this, I’m pressed against an oil radiator wearing four layers of clothing and a blanket wrapped around me. In desperation, I reached for a movie to review on Netflix. Only when I got to the end did I realise that it was a Slovak film. Perhaps the cold has got to my senses. While I don’t speak Czech, I have lived in the country long enough to tell the difference between the Czech language and Slovak. But not