Saturday, May 07, 2005

up and down

so last night, being a slow movie weekend box office wise, at least around here, we decided to check out the czech film, 'up and down'. oh what a bizarre film this is. i'm still not sure if i liked it or not; perhaps writing about it will help me decide.

many plots sort-of twist in this film (the shape of the narrative is very bizarre to say the least, jumping from one plot to another rather inadeptly) exist. first, we see a truck carrying a bunch of emigrants who want to escape to germany exit, leaving a baby behind. this becomes plot one. then all of a sudden, there's a switch to a family laughing it up at dinner; a few scenes later, the father, a uni prof, has a seizure and all of a sudden he has a tumour on his brain. he asks to see his wife (apparently he was not divorced from her and is only living with the mother of his daughter) and his estranged son, who lives in australia.

anyway, another plot concerns a couple who want a baby desperately (you can see the threads trying to knit together already); the wife goes out and tries to walk off with a baby carriage, she is that desperate. well, somehow, unbeknownst to us, they get hooked up with the people who want to sell the baby off the truck. so the wife buys the baby.

meanwhile, we learn that her husband cannot adopt a child because he has a criminal record from getting into fights after football matches with his hard-core teammates, all of whom are about as racist as you can get. in fact, the film exudes racism; the wife of the uni prof goes off about how her neighbourhood is run over with immigrants, worthless immigrants. and when the 'commander' of the football fan club sees the baby of fanta, the poor ex-con new dad, he is disgusted by its being black and deletes franta from his mobile phone. meanwhile, the mom and daughter team work for an anti-racism/help for immigrants society, but even they show signs of being racist.

all of this racism came out of nowhere in the film, which started out really enjoyably. the football watching scenes were especially brutal in their racist shouts. by the end of the film, all we could think was that prague certainly didn't seem to be a good place to go, particularly for me, who is slovakian. strangely, australia seemed to be racial heaven, with the son married to a black woman and with a mulatto son. who knew?

overall, i guess i liked the film for all its bizarrity. i do wonder, though, if the racism in the film was exemplary of prague and the czech republic, or just something to tie the many plot threads together. scary if it's the former. which, i dare say, is probably the truth.


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