Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ja Milujem, Ty Milujes (I Love, You Love)

This 1980 Czechoslovakian drama and romantic comedy was withheld from release for almost ten years, and was taken out of the censorship vaults in 1989 going directly to be In Competition in that year’s Berlinale, where won the Silver Bear for Best Director and the FIPRESCI Prize –Honorable Mention for Slovak Dusan Hanák its director.

There are some speculations for the reason why this film was black listed. Some think that is because it paints the life of working people in an unflattering light, others say that is because shows public buildings and apartments in working class sections of town in ramshackle condition and some claim that’s an authentic testimony portraying the desolate day-to-day in socialism. But whatever was the real reason, today is a movie that when you have seen Eastern Europe movies before it does not show you anything new.

This film is about alcoholism, loneliness, rejection, and happy endings. The main character of this poetic mosaic is a railway postal service employee who longs to find an emotional relationship. The tiny Pišta is a loser with women while his colleague Vinco has more affairs than he can handle. The former is a good-natured man, the latter takes cynical advantage of his handsome physical looks. A surprising turning point comes in the last third of the story. While drunk, Vinco dies of gas poisoning and his lover Viera ends up in hospital. It is with this woman who kept rejecting him and is now expecting his dead friend´s baby that Pišta finds a relationship... This story about different forms of love is enriched with the Hanak´s original symbols and details.

This is a marvelous and simple film that will engage you quickly and you will sympathize with plump, always drunk, short and poor Pišta and have to say that the happy ending totally surprised me, as I was expecting a somber finale; but no, this is one arty movie that will make you smile at the end.

Not for all audiences you have to like art house cinema and Eastern European stories and movies.


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