Thursday, June 05, 2008

Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (I Served the King of England)

While watching this Jirí Menzel movie there was a word that constantly came to my head and totally describes this movie: delicious! This is a very well constructed film based on the epic novel by famous Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal with a screenplay written also by Menzel.

The film tells Czechoslovakia history from the ‘20’s to the 60’s but does it in the way of telling about a simple and apolitical man, Jan Díte (literally means Johnny Child), that just wants to be a millionaire and from selling sausages at a train station becomes a waiter, marries a German girl, becomes a millionaire after the war only to end up in jail for almost 15 years fulfilling his dream of being among millionaires.

But this is not an historic drama, this is a drama with comedy, a very old fashion comedy that recalls silent cinema with the typical music of let’s say, those Charles Chaplin or Buster Keaton movies. Then is also a satire that while showing you the sumptuous excesses or the misery of each decade you easily get the political undertones and the undeniable role that money, sex and why not also beer, play.

Actors’ performances are outstandingly impeccable, cinematography excellent with some outstanding moments like when the movie goes to black and white or when does some excellent framing when the main character is older. Music is a main element in the film with sets and costumes being a real feast to your eyes especially in the banquet where everything is choreographed to perfection. But most of all is a very entertaining, sexy and happy movie, even when it does not tell a happy story in the background. I have to share with you that I will always love Prague and even if is shown mainly with indoor takes, there is one outstandingly beautiful shot of the city that just brought memories back

Anyway, the movie was the official Czech submission to the 2008 Academy Awards and is the winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2007 Berlinale were was in competition for the Golden Bear. Also is the winner of four top awards at the 2007 Czech Lions.

I liked the movie a lot but I have to admit that the best part of the movie is when tells the story in the 20’s and 30’s before the Germans take the country. Still, I do recommend this movie to European cinema lovers that enjoy elegant sexy scenes, good old fashion visual comedy and a flawless drama.


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