Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema | High School Outreach
Stand By Me meets Y Tu Mamá También on a stretch of barren Czech countryside in this charmingly unsentimental tale about two teenage boys on a journey of self-discovery and auto theft. With no particular place to go, tough-talking Maìra (Tomáš Mrvík) and his endearingly dorky companion Heduš (Jan František Uher) point their stolen Audi in the general direction of France—there’s talk of French girls and joining the Foreign Legion—but are soon waylaid by drowning dogs, raging hormones and a sickly old man in a wheelbarrow.
Anchored by a standout performance from newcomer Mrvík as the steely-eyed but tender-hearted Maìra, the film shifts between the rollicking version of events Maìra presents to two grim-face police interrogators and the somewhat less heroic reality of his misadventures with Heduš. Quirky without being cute, the film is grounded by a poignant streak of Eastern European melancholy and an evocative palette of winter grays captured by cinematographer Lukáš Milota. A subtly affecting gem.
"There are moments of magic and moments of mayhem, but the emotional effect… is a piercingly bittersweet melancholy…"—Jessica Kiang, Variety
Best Director, Karlovy Vary 18