Honeymoon: when demons from the past crash the wedding
by Domenico La Porta
01/07/2013 - Czech director Jan Hrebejk presents his new movie in competition at the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
With Honeymoon (Líbánky), Czech director Jan Hrebejk concludes his trilogy made up of Kawasaki’s Rose [+see also:
film profile] (2009) and Innocence [+see also:
film profile] (2011), two films in which shadows from the past already came to haunt the present of its characters. This time, it is Tereza and Radim, a couple perfect in appearance, who will fall apart on the day of their wedding ceremony when a mysterious young man invites himself to the wedding, bearing a terrible secret which incriminates Radim. This coproduction between the Czech Republic and Slovakia was screened in a preview in the competition of the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
The film benefits from the glowing cinematography of Martin Strba whose images render the happy atmosphere of a wedding day just as cleanly as the souvenir videos that are sometimes made during these occasions. The party will soon be tainted by the presence of a quietly worrying guest, whom no one seems to know. Very quickly, the ugly duckling, (Jiří Černý) reveals his cards by digging up Radim’s troubled past (Stanislav Majer). When confronted by these revelations, Tereza (Anna Geislerová) has to face her own demons, which she had so far kept hidden from her husband
Despite a secondary family intrigue aiming to develop the other characters, the film mainly focuses on the disastrous secret that is revealed. If the director is careful to give the spectators several points of view (one character attacks, the other defends, each with a personal version of the story), he finishes in the third act by exposing the cold truth of the facts through a series of short flashbacks which are undisputably incriminating because of their cruelty. The Honeymoon deals with the dramatic consequences of harassment without entering the gates of redemption. The story is sufficiently tense to maintain the spectator's attention and renews it with a series of twists and turns that position the film between a social drama and a not necessarily moralizing thriller.
(Translated from French)