I have to admit that I get REALLY excited when I write another of these posts in my series, "Foreign Film for Beginners". In real life I often make film recommendations for my friends when it's film festival time and I LOVE finding JUST the right picks for their taste and personality.
If there was a way to make a living putting together film schedules for others, I'd be doing it. Kind of like a film festival concierge. Tell me your interests, and I will find THE best films for you.
Today's film includes a double-fecta (is that the two version of a trifecta?). One of my favourite directors, Jan Hrebejk, and one of my favourite actors, Bolek Polivka. You can probably guess by their names that they are from Eastern Europe - the Czech Republic to be exact. And it's one of their many collaborations, Oscar nominated Divided We Fall.
The Czech Republic has an incredibly strong film, tv and theatre community. So strong that I wish I knew how to speak Czech so that I could enjoy even MORE of it. The artists move freely between genres so someone like Bolek Polivka, star of this movie and trained as a mime, also writes plays and acts in television. I will see ANYTHING that he acts in.
And director Jan Hrebejk is also someone who I follow closely. He has made a variety of films in different historical eras starting with WWII (this film), the Prague Spring in 1968, the fall of communism and contempory Czech society. The common thread? A masterful way of weaving comic moments amid serious drama. His movies star THE best of Czech actors and actresses.
So Sandra, why should I see this movie? First of all, it was nominated for best foreign film in 2000 so you KNOW it'll be good. Second, you'll get to see Bolek Polivka in action, one of my all time favourite foreign actors. And third, despite being a movie that takes place during the Nazi occupation of what was Czechoslovakia, it is a hopeful and charming and yes, sometimes funny movie as only an Eastern European could make.
Rent it and you'll understand why when I get my TIFF catalogue each year, I go directly to the list of film by country and see what the Czech Republic has on offer.