A squad of agents is selected, trained and then parachuted into Czechoslovakia. The team operated in Prague and planned the attack for about six months. The mission is successfully executed in the capital on May 27, 1942 by means of an ambush, but almost fails at a crucial moment when one of their Sten guns jams and they are obliged to use a grenade instead. Heydrich eventually succumbs to his wounds, but during the frenzied aftermath, the group is betrayed by one of its members and they are cornered in a church crypt in Prague. In the gun-battle that follows, all but two of the agents are killed. The remaining ones commit suicide. The German high command takes savage reprisals, including the massacre of 340 men, women and children from the village of Lidice and the razing of the village.
The film is absolutely astounding! It is not often that you see a film that really entertains you, and leaves your expectations completely surpassed. The plot moves forward with the speed, precision, and intensity of a Robert Ludlum story. The actors are perfect in their roles and in their interactions with one another. The actor who most stands out is Siegfried Loyda, as the terrifying epitome of Nazism, Heydrich. The cinematography creates a bleak and Gothic look that is extremely powerful, and has not become dated at all. The music is incredibly exhilarating, and the use of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in the end of the film is enough to give one goosebumps.
The action and suspense is incredibly intense. The siege in the church at the very end will impress even the most jaded of movie viewers. It is perfect for anyone who wants to see a good action/espionage film or a captivating and accurate historical film.
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.
Two families, Sebkovi and Krausovi, are celebrating christmas in the communist 1960’s Czechoslovakia, but not everyone is in a good mood. Teenage kids think their fathers are totaly stupid, fathers are sure their children are nothing more than rebels, hating anything they say.
DVD includes 24 minutes of bonus material in Czech.
Tmavomodrý svět, from the hands of Academy winner Jan Sverak.
March 15, 1939: Germany invades Czechoslovakia. Czech pilots flee to England, joining the RAF. After the war, back home, they are put in labor camps, suspected of anti-Communist ideas. This film cuts between a post-war camp where Franta is a prisoner and England during the war, where Franta is like a big brother to Karel, a very young pilot. On maneuvers, Karel crash lands by the rural home of Susan, an English woman whose husband is MIA. She spends one night with Karel, and he thinks he’s found the love of his life. It’s complicated by Susan’s attraction to Franta. How will the three handle innocence, Eros, friendship, and the heat of battle? When war ends, what then?
Vratné lahve (2007), directed by Jan Sverák, written by Zdenek Sverák, was shown in the U.S. with the title “Empties.” The title derives from a second “career,” undertaken late in life, by the protagonist Josef (Zdenek Sverák). Josef resigns from his position as a teacher and takes a job accepting returned glass bottles at a supermarket. Complications ensue. Josef isn’t exactly an ideal worker, but he does establish a rapport with his fellow employees and with some of the customers.
Josef is married, but he and his wife are tired of each other. (Incidentally, his wife is played by Daniela Kolárová, who looks like the Czech Hellen Mirren.) Josef and his wife are both contemplating adultery, although that’s not as easy for them as it might sound.
“Empties” is a comedy, but a comedy with a sad and bitter undertone. Everyone is looking for love, romance, and understanding, but mostly they’re looking in the wrong places. Still, the film is worth seeing, especially because of the wonderful acting by Zdenek Sverák, who was outstanding in the film “Kolya” ten years ago, and is equally outstanding in “Empties.”
Incidentally, the identical names of the actor/writer and director are not coincidental–they are father and son. That must lead to some interesting moments on the set.
Subtitled in English.
The 1980s in Czechoslovakia. The young talented sprinter Anna (Judit Bárdos) is selected for the national team and starts training to qualify for the Olympic Games. As a part of the preparation she is placed in a secret “medical programme” where she’s getting doped with anabolic steroids. Her performance is getting better, but after she collapses at the training, she learns the truth about the drugs.
Anna decides to continue in her training without the steroids even though her mother (Anna Geislerova) is worried that she won’t be able to keep up with other athletes and might not qualify for the Olympics, which she sees as the only chance for her daughter to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. After Anna finishes the last in the indoor race, her mother informs the coach (Roman Luknar) that Anna is no longer using steroids. They decide to apply the steroids to Anna secretly, pretending it’s nothing but doses of harmless vitamins.
Fogi is enjoying his never ending puberty. But simultaneously Fogi is also trying to live up to his family duties and bring up Véna, his son from the first marriage. He did not get married again but lives with Jana, a post office employee. Together they have little Anicka and they all live in a flat in a small town. At first, Jana is trying to tolerate Fogi’s moods, but her patience is running out. Fogi loses his job. On top of that he starts to see himself in his adolescent son and realizes with horror that Véna repeats his own mistakes. The first fights, bans and mutual misunderstandings are approaching.