The Czech comedy of the summer
by Domenico La Porta
- The last film written and directed by Czech director Alice Nellis was screened in avant-première during the Karlovy Vary Festival where it won the Prize of the Public.
Revival [+see also:
interview: Alice Nellis
film profile], the last film written and directed by Czech director Alice Nellis was screened in avant-première during the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which had scheduled this national comedy out of competition. Refreshing, fun and sensitive, this nostalgic comedy has all the ingredients to become a huge success amongst the public of its country, where it is released this week in theatres. Humour, music, camaraderie and a little personal je ne sais quoi for whoever starts looking at life over his shoulder.
The title is self-explanatory. Following the trend of revival, four buddies decide – forty years later – to reunite their rock band, which had known brief success in the 70’s under the name of Smoke. First believed to be a scam aimed at saving one of its members from bankruptcy, this comeback takes an unexpected turn and gives each members a unique chance to take revenge on life.
As for the cast, the director managed to bring together Bolek Polívka, Miroslav Krobot, Karel Heřmánek and Marián Geišberg – famous and experienced actors – to play the roles of the band members. The 5th sidekick is Jan Ponocný aka Cirkus Ponorka, the composer of the original songs who also plays Smoke’s blind drummer.
The jokes relating to his disability hit the spot just like the film’s general sense of humour, which is sometimes irreverent and completely international. Comparisons with the stories of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Kinks are clear and the 115 minutes of the film remain light, even during the screenplay’s most dramatic moments. Through a relatively classic story that could be compared to This is Spinal Tap by Rob Reiner or more recently the Macedonian film Punk’s Not Dead by Vladimir Blazevski (screened in Karlovy Vary in 2012), Alice Nellis succeeds in mixing a brilliant cocktail of emotions. By leaving the door open to the synapses of the spectator who is more than ready to laugh, she invites tears more easily in all the rest: above all, a feel good movie, perfectly controlled.
(Translated from French)