EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|COUNTRY TEACHER, THE (VENKOVSKY UCITEL) (director/writer: Bohdan Slama; cinematographer: Divis Marek; editor: Jan Danhel; music: Vladimir Godar; cast: Pavel Liska (Peter, Teacher), Zuzana Bydzovska (Mary), Ladislav Sedivy (Lada), Marek Daniel (George), Tereza Voriskova (Bara), Milos Cernousek (School Principal), Zdena Kucerová (Vlasta, granny), Zuzana Kronerová (Mother), Miroslav Krobot (Father); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Pavel Strnad/Petr Oukropec/Karl Baumgartner/Thanassis Karathanos; Film Movement; 2008-Czech-in Czech with English subtitles)|
didactic lecture on forgiveness was a bore and all
smelled like manure."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A well-played but overwrought melodrama with a gay theme, that lands softly in the hay as a life lesson morality tale that tells those who perhaps don't know 'to believe in yourself' and that 'everybody needs someone.' The enemy here is loneliness. We're told it's worst to be alone than to be in a homosexual relationship. Director Bohdan Slama ("Wild Bees"/"Something Like Happiness") takes us to the sticks, just outside of Prague, where introspective and bespectacled thirty-something science teacher Peter (Pavel Liska) has landed after rejecting his teaching post in an elite prep school in Prague. Here Peter will teach science in a rural elementary school. The gruff realist principal (Milos Cernousek) senses he's running away from something and gives his brilliant teacher six months before quitting this culturally barren place.
We're left in the dark for
as to what the somber, pensive teacher is fleeing from,
but we witness
the teach push away the sexual advances of his older
middle-aged neighbor Mary (Zuzana
Bydzovska), a local cow herder and widow with a
of marriage. We then watch teach pine for her troubled,
17-year-old son Lada (Ladislav
And we will at last know what's on Peter's mind when he
goes home and
tells his flustered mom he's gay, and that when he told
that he was rejected and thereby fled Prague in shame.
Back in the boonies, the
quiet Peter gets uptight with the visit of the bisexual
George (Marek Daniel),
loud-mouth, bully and troublemaker. When George can't
get Peter in the
sack, he steals Lada's teenage city girlfriend Bara (Tereza Voriskova)
and thereby breaks
Lada's heart. The repressed Peter tries to comfort the
drunken lad and
winds up fondling him while he's sleeping, and receives
the kid's scorn
when he's awakened. After much soul searching by the two
and Peter, their endangered relationship ends in
film's climax is in Mary's barn (manger), when Mary,
Lada and Peter
assist in the birth of a calf and marvel at how
wonderful is nature.
The didactic lecture on
was a bore and all the contrivances smelled like manure,
seemed so facile and presented more for the mind than
REVIEWED ON 5/8/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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