4 April 2006 | fnorful
untypically Eastern European
This Eastern European movie has everything you expect: nothing ever works out, life is unfair, the personal condition is one of doom, life is unfair, it all ends badly, and oh, by the way, life is unfair.
And with the advantages this approach offers, this movie, about love in the gulag of a political prison in Communist-era Czechoslovakia, comes close to utilizing the concept fully. The characters, when faced with the worst possible conditions react with optimism. "Well, if I get the death penalty, at least that will be something new" describes well how the prisoners view their doomed state of existence.
Lubos, in prison for 12 years ("12 or 120, it doesn't matter") for abetting his father in subversive activities, is given a long sentence in a political prison. He gets to glance, and then fall in love with, young Dana. They steal glances, kisses, embraces. Their journey through the system is important as an exercise not in faith, but in the great gift that life can give to the individual who wants to see it.
I'll take this sort of "Eastern European Movie Syndrome" anytime.