Wednesday, 25 July 2007

I served the box office

Anybody seen Obsluhoval jsem anglickeho krale yet? Probably a dumb question given that it's likely to have been in circulation now for a couple years. We saw it last night courtesy of the annual International Film Festival at the theatre that underwent a $60m makeover for the world premier of The Return of the King (almost no need to write NZ$ or US$ anymore since we're up to US81c and rising - fastest strengthening currency in the world allegedly, which I suspect is bollocks because we're still losing value against the crown).

Have to admit I was slightly disappointed by the film after reading some fairly over-the-top reviews of it at and some other extremely earnest arthouse site (almost identical reviews actually, so someone was showing a definite lack of initiative). They gave the distinct impression that Menzel had produced another masterpiece to compare with Ostre sledovane vlaky and Skrivanci na niti, with pastiche black-and-white slapstick comedy scenes to rival Chaplain. The opening scene at the train station was said to be an example of the latter, but I was singularly unimpressed and not stitching my sides up as a result. And after four years of marriage and five years away from Central Europe I was anticipating the alleged “gratuitous nudity” with more than a little bottled-up salacious middle-aged macintosh-coated excitement. But it all turned out slightly flaccid in the end in comparison with what one is used to from Czech cinema. I do agree though that Menzel does film naked women with an artistic eye that you rarely see from anyone else. The scene of the millionaires feasting at a circular table while simultaneously feasting their eye on a lightly-clad young woman lying supine on a revolving ‘lazy Susan’ in the middle was worth the price of admission.

And for dedicated Liberazzi there was even a shot of our very own Reichenberg radnice. But more than that, I discovered during my virtual wandering that another film has been produced that is based wholly in Liberec – Grand Hotel. No surprises that it’s filmed at that monstrosity on top of Jested, but I wonder if anyone’s seen it. I note the director is the same as he of Samotari fame, so does that mean it’s quite good? Does Rotten have a part as a cadaver or a diner in the background?

Obsluhoval jsem anglickeho krale was meant to have provoked controversy in CZ, but I haven’t found any reference to what exactly that means yet. I presume it has something to do with the inherent criticism made of the treatment of the Sudeten Germans in the aftermath of the war, huh?

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