Film about black market & crime activity in Prague of 80’s (but still pretty cool)
This film was banned by Communists, but ironically got to the black market as a cam pirate copy, so there was no person who missed this film.
The title ‘Bony a Klid’ is an intentional pun on ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, as this movie depicts attractive young criminals who are meant to be latter-day Czech versions of Bonnie and Clyde. (By the way, I wish that more people knew the *facts* about Bonnie and Clyde, instead of the Faye Dunaway mystique. The real Bonnie and Clyde were Depression-era punks who didn’t have the guts to hold up banks, so they robbed small businesses (such as groceries and gas stations) that were just barely getting by. At one point, Bonnie and Clyde couldn’t even steal a car, so they made their getaway on stolen mules. Over their entire career, Bonnie and Clyde stole less money than Jesse James hauled from one bank robbery six decades earlier, without adjusting for inflation. End of digression.)
Free translation of the title ‘Bony a Klid’ translates as ‘Boons and Rest’. The criminals in this movie want to accumulate enough ‘boons’ (see below) and stolen goods so that they can take it easy (the ‘rest’).
Martin is an innocent lad from small-town Mlada Boleslav (The cradle of SKODA auto) who comes to big-city Prague, hoping to exchange his krona for deutschemarks so that he can visit Germany. A local spiv named Robert obliges Martin, but at an unfair exchange rate. When Martin finds out he was rooked, he plans revenge on Robert … but then decides to join Robert’s gang instead. From this point, most of the rest of the film recounts the gang’s activities in various black-market schemes and wide-boy scams. The gang buy, sell and steal foreign goods at dishonest exchange rates, and they also deal in ‘boons’: these are tariff coupons permitting the purchase of rationed foreign goods. The caper scenes are shot and edited to make the gang look a bunch of sexy young outlaws and bouncing Czechs.
11 Czech Lion Awards!
The film was the Czech Republic’s original submission for the Oscars’ foreign language race, but it was disqualified due to having been aired on TV. In January 1969, Czech university student Jan Palach set himself aflame in Prague’s Wenceslas square to protest the Soviet occupation of his homeland. His brave deed and painful death sparked massive spin control by Czech government and its Soviet overlords, rather than the expressions of dissent he hoped to inspire, as chronicled in the excellent “Burning Bush”. Expertly helmed by Agnieszka Holland, this three part HBO Europe miniseries is a compelling slice of history in which fear can trump idealism and the truth doesn’t always lead to justice. It’s a taut, nuanced work that should easily connect at a human level with upscale offshore auds.
Brilliant miniseries about one of the darkest times of the history of Czechoslovakia!
Burning Bush is a three-part mini-series created for HBO by world-renowned Polish director Agnieszka Holland. Based on real characters and events, this haunting drama focuses on the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. Dagmar Buresová, a young female lawyer, became part of his legacy by defending Jan’s family in a trial against the communist government, a regime which tried to dishonour Palach’s sacrifice, a heroic action for the freedom of Czechoslovakia.
Extras include music video and a very good 30 minute making of, subtitled in English.