Cosy Dens (1999)

  |  Comedy, Drama

Cosy Dens (1999) Poster

Two families, Sebkovi and Krausovi, are celebrating christmas, but not everyone is in a good mood. Teenage kids think their fathers are totaly stupid, fathers are sure their children are ... See full summary »


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2 October 2011 | Red-125
A tragicomedy about Czechoslovakia
Cosy Dens (1999) is the ironic name given to the film that was called Pelísky in Czech. The movie was directed by Jan Hrebejk.

Two families are celebrating Christmas in the same apartment house during the Prague Spring. The father of one family is patriotic and anti-Russian. The father of the other is an army officer, and pro-Russian. The basic plot revolves around the relationships between these families. Clearly, the families symbolize two aspects of Czech society in 1968--some refused to accept the Soviet occupation, and denounced it when they could. Others turned the occupation to their advantage.

The movie has several plot threads. The two fathers argue constantly. The young son of one family loves the daughter of the other. (It's not Romeo and Juliet--his love is unrequited.) An aunt hopes to find a husband, but her son and her bad luck get in the way.

It's interesting that even the army officer's family celebrate with a traditional Christmas. It's very interesting--at least to a non-Czech--that the families keep a live carp in the bathtub, which is apparently a traditional aspect of the Czech Christmas.

The film is not just a comedy. It is a symbolic representation of the tensions of the Czech people, who must adapt to the fact that Russia controls their destiny. They don't know--but we know--that the Prague Spring will come to an end not through liberation, but through the roar of the Warsaw Pact tanks rolling through Prague.

There's a long shot of birds in a cage near the end. The presenter of the film made the symbolism clear. The birds have enough food and water to survive, but the central fact of their existence--like that of the Czechs--is that they are not free.

Seen as part of the outstanding Alan Lutkus International Film Series at SUNY Geneseo. The film is on DVD, and was projected onto the large screen. It will work on the small screen as well.

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

8 April 1999


Czech, Russian

Country of Origin

Czech Republic

Filming Locations

Prokopske Jezirko, Prague, Czech Republic

Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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