Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Country Teacher|
Actors: Pavel Liska, Zuzana Bydzovska, Marek Daniel
Director: Bohdan Slama
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Repnet Llc Release Date: 09/08/2009 Run time: 113 minutes
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New Voice in Czech Cinema
Bryan A. Pfleeger | Metairie, Louisiana United States | 07/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bohdan Slama is becoming the new voice in Czech cinema. In three films he has shown himself to be a major talent. His film The Country Teacher presents a simple yet powerful story about unrequited love and the human power of forgiveness.
A teacher (Pavel Liska) moves to a small rural village in order to take a job teaching natural science at the local elementary school. He is a quiet introspective man who does not seem to fit into the setting that he has placed himself in after having taught in Prague. He soon becomes friends with a lonely widow Marie (Zuzana Bydzovska) and her rebellious 17 year old son Lada (Ladislav Sedivy). As the friendship progresses the audience learns that the teacher has no sexual interest in Marie but no reason is given. When a former boyfriend of the teacher arrives in the village a chain of events is set off that willlead to painful revelations about all three of the main characters.
The film concentrates on characters not on convoluted plot lines to get its story across. There are long takes that focus on individual faces. Director of photography Divis Marek does an admirable job filming the bucolic landscape with long lenses in order to force his viewers into the story. If there is a flaw with the film it is that the ending is a little contrived but the message that forgivness is necessary for us to evolve as humans is universal. There are also messages about the diversity of life that are played out in the daily lives of the characters..
This film had a limited screening in my location but I was able to view the Film Movement DVD. The standatd definition disc presents the film with no real issues and the subtitles are easy to read and seem to get at the nuances in Slama's script.
This one is worth checking out if you can find it. The film was an official selection at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals and won the Audience Award at the Cottbus Film Festival."
Coming-Out as a Teacher
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 06/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Country Teacher" ("Venkovsky uticel")
Coming-Out as a Teacher
A rural Czech outpost gets a new teacher for the elementary school. He is lonely and closeted and searching for a new life. Petr is shy and young and for whatever reason has left a prestigious school in Prague to work with students in the rural part of the Czech Republic. Pavel Liska is Petr and he is not surprised to see that the villagers are perplexed as to why he has come to them. Marie (Zuzana Bydzovska), a widow has a 17 year old son and they work their farm and extend a hand to Petr. When a romance does not come about, Marie is a bit upset and disappointed. It eventually becomes quite clear that Petr is gay and very unhappy. He knows that he cannot share this with anyone but as it happens, one indiscretion begins to threaten all that he has built.
The movie is the drama of one man and it is quite a story. There is a sense of depression over the start of the film and this is because of the passions of the characters. They are pushed to a direction that is not the best for them. The three main characters, Petr, Maria and her son Lada do not have self-control over their passions and therefore they fall victim to needs that are irrational and seem to separate the civilized from those who are not.
The story unfolds in a glorious nature setting and we try to understand why Petr went to the village and we gain a little understanding about the other characters. The theme is handled with delicacy and therefore we do not have the feeling that we are watching a film that deals with tolerance and forgiveness. The pastoral and the portrayal of farm life provide a foundation of "visceral truth".
We learn early that Petr is gay and we understand why he keeps this to himself. He has lost interest in the gay life of Prague and he retreats. He remains apart from the local residents. He begins by being housed at the school near Maria's farm and he fends off her romantic advances. However, he does harbor a crush on Lada, her son and as he becomes more and more in love with him from afar, he begins to express his feelings by tutoring him. Lada seems to return his attention and discovers a new love for school. There is a problem however in that Lada is straight and is totally blind to Petr's feelings. Petr, against his own better judgment, foolishly makes a move.
Visually this is a beautiful film and it is a sweet story. It is introspective and transcendental and it will hold you captive. There is the sad yet serious joke when Petr cannot bring Lada to love him and it is Petr's lust for Lada that causes him to fall.
There are two major flaws here. First is the way homosexuality is revealed and that is that we seem to go back to the early depictions of gays are tortured tragic victims. I thought we had progressed past that. Second is the depiction of country folk as lacking sophistication and distrustful of city people. However putting these two issues aside and remembering that we do not get too many gay themed films from the Czech Republic makes it easier to enjoy this film which despite its depictions stated above is a rewarding pleasure.
C. Travis | Tennessee, USA | 08/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a low key, but very beautiful Czech film. A talented young teacher leaves his prestigious teaching job in Prague to teach in a small rural school and locals are somewhat suspicious of his motives, but never-the-less welcome him into local activities. It is later revealed that Peter is gay, but wants more meaning out of life than offered by casual city hookups. The major focus of the film is not Peter's gayness, but on the relationship between Peter, a lonely widow Marie and her rebellious 17 year old son. The film's portrayal of pastoral farm life is spectacular and leads an element of visceral truth to the film. This is a heartfelt drama that deals with very human issues."