Monday, September 24, 2007

My Sweet Little Village

Vesničko má středisková; Comedy, Czech republic, 1985; D: Jiří Menzel, S: Marián Labuda, János Bán, Rudolf Hrusínský, Petr Cepek, Jan Hartl, Libuse Safránková

A small village somewhere in Czechoslovakia. Truck driver Pavek is annoyed by his assistant Otik who is slightly mentally retarded and thus does everything wrong. After Otik makes another mistake, Pavek informs his boss he demands a new assistant. Hurt, Otik goes to work in Prague, but Pavek pities him and hires him again. Among other villagers are a doctor, secretary Jana who has a secret affair, a pupil who fell in love with the teacher of his sister and a mad painter.

Popular Czech comedy "My Sweet Little Village", nominated for an Oscar as best foreign language film, is an amusing, fun and easily accessible achievement of the charming "Czech mentality". Episodic story oscillates noticeably: some episodes are funny and neat, while others are rigid and senseless, but they are all easily watchable. From wacky characters (one man had a strange habit of constantly putting extinguished matches in the box with other matches, until the box caught fire in his pants) through wacky situations (two men start a fight in a bar in order to injure the other one, and the frustrated doctor spots them and says: "Guys! Guys! Please, give me rest at least this Sunday!") up to wacky gags (Otik wears headphones in order to straighten his "Dumbo" ears), "Village" proves it's an unpretentious and unambitious film with a too episodic story without a clear cause-consequence thread, and never quite laugh-out-loud funny, but it has charm, exchanges black humor with childish humor (the tall, thin Otik and his colleague, the fat Pavek, look a little bit like a Czech version of Laurel and Hardy) while Jiri Menzel is a good director and gives marginal characters the leading roles.


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