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Friday, August 28, 2009

Dreary Country Teacher looks for love in the haystacks

click to enlarge CZECHED OUT: The country teacher (Pavel Liška)
  • CZECHED OUT: The country teacher (Pavel Liška)

The Czech drama The Country Teacher's title character (Pavel Liska) uses a snail shell as a prop to introduce rural middle schoolers to the wonders of natural science. Unfortunately, a snail could also represent the pace of the thoughtful yet sluggish character study.

The Country Teacher at first resembles an inspirational teacher drama when the taciturn instructor mysteriously arrives at a small Czech farming community. He taught previously at the same Prague prep school as his domineering mother, and escaping from under her wing would seem to be ample justification to relocate. In actuality, he's trying to flee the kind of personal crisis that will follow no matter where he goes. (I won’t give it away lest I spoil the film’s only surprise.) His secret complicates his budding relationships with widowed cattle herder Mary (Zuzana Bydzovská) and her brooding teenage son Lada (Ladislav Sedivý).

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(Image courtesy Film Movement)

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