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The comforts of Czech film

It would be good to have deeper and more serious films. But star directors shouldn't be held responsible for us not having them.

It would be good to have deeper and more serious films. But star directors shouldn't be held responsible for us not having them.

In some places consumerism is the most important thing, and elsewhere it's religion. But for Czechs the typical ambition is to live in comfort: Create a cozy microclimate, huddle up against the storm outside and not worry about the so-called big things - they'll go their own way anyway. The exultant Czech comfort-seeker as a rule gets on the nerves of all who have maintained the ability to think for themselves - but what to do with it? And how does it appear from outside?

What the world likes

The comfort-seekers took over this year's Český lev awards as well. Jiří Menzel got four statues for his I Served the King of England, Hřebejk's Beauty in Trouble, but surprisingly one of the biggest successes of last year was missing: Účastníci zájezdu [Holiday Makers], the debut film by the extraordinarily talented Jiří Vejdelka. All three films made a lot of money at home, and the domestic cultural community looks at them as kitsch. Menzel is criticized for painting Hrabal in rosy tones. Hřebejk pays dearly for being an official chronicler of unbearable comfort-seeking. And „serious people“ don't consider the talented Vejdělek worth mentioning because he filmed an optimistic genre picture of the Czech middle class on vacation.

But from the outside it could look differently: For example, Vejdělek…

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