EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|BEAUTY IN TROUBLE (KRASKA V NESNAZICH) (director/writer: Jan Hrebejk; screenwriters: based on a Robert Graves poem/based on a story by Mr. Jarchovsky and Mr. Hrebejk/Petr Jarchovsky; cinematographer: Jan Malír; editor: Vladimír Barák; music: Ales Brezina; cast: Anna Geislerová (Marcela Cmolíková), Josef Abrhám (Evzen Benes), Jirí Schmitzer (Richard), Roman Luknár (Jarda Cmolík), Jana Brejchová (Zdena), Jan Hrusínský (Havlik), Adam Misík (Kuba), Michaela Mrvíková (Lucina), Emília Vásáryová (Libuse Cmolíková); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ondrej Trojan; Menemsha; 2006-Czech Republic-in Czech with English subtitles)|
|"Offers an uncanny soap
opera story that turns weird."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Czech drama takes its title from a Robert Graves poem. Director Jan Hrebejk ("Pupendo"/"Up and Down"/"Divided We Fall") bases it on a story he wrote with Petr Jarchovsky.
The low-class family of
Geislerová) and Jarda (Roman Luknár) lose everything during the
2002 Prague flood, and the mechanic father resorts to
running a chop shop in his garage to pay the bills.
Caught with the stolen Volvo of wealthy Tuscany-based
vintner Benes (Josef
Abrhám), Jarda is imprisoned. Before the arrest
Marcela had another spat with hubby, but this one
resulted in her moving out to her mother Zdena's (Jana Brejchová) apartment with her
15-year-old daughter Lucina (Michaela
Mrvíková) and adolescent asthmatic son Kuba (Adam Misík).
The resilient 32-year-old
mom, who works in a travel agency, meets in the
waiting room of a Prague police station the much older
Benes and is taken by his kindness, as they soon date
despite her hubby's arrest for stealing his car. At Zdena's place, mom and the kids
are made uncomfortable by Marcela's cranky
who goes bonkers with enforcing rules the guests must
follow and berates the kids for eating his diabetic
cookies and not taking out the garbage. His character
serves as a source of comic relief and as a political
metaphor for past tyrants.
Benes has left his Italian
villa to reclaim a
Prague house that was previously seized by the
communists, and is now occupied by a tenant with an
ailing old mother. While Benes is in town for the
final sale, he experiences the difficulty of moving
out his tenant and tries to be generous but instead
finds he's betrayed by the greedy tenant and has to
resort to doing business as a cold way to keep the
overreaching in place. Meanwhile Benes courts the
conflicted Marcela, who has a penchant for showing
off her boobs. The disrespected Marcela realizes she
has a chance to escape her screwed up life with this
angel benefactor and now must choose life with the
elegant wealthy man old enough to be her father,
whose love is genteel, or return to her released
from prison schmuck hubby whom she adores only
because she has hot sex with him.
The value of the pic is that it's observant of class differences, has fluid characters who veer between being monsters and sympathetic lost souls, and offers an uncanny soap opera story that turns weird. It's an engaging film that reflects the vast changes and mood swings in recent Czech life, and lets us see that only the children have still retained their innocence and only they offer hope for the Czech future. It's not a totally convincing assumption, nevertheless I appreciated its unrelenting attack on the intolerant extremists of both the left and right-wings who make life miserable for those just trying to get by surviving from life's inconveniences.
REVIEWED ON 8/15/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ