22 March 2010

Soul at Peace / Pokoj v dusi (Vladimir Balkó, 2009, Slovakia)

Tono gets out of prison where he's been for five years. He goes back to his home in the heavily forested Carpathian Mountains. The landscape in this movie is gorgeous and the town he lives in is like a postcard in almost every frame. The unfolding of plot and character are as graceful as the setting. He gets home and discovers the world pushing him back into a life of crime even though he wants to stay an honest man. He can't find a job. He's in debt. He thinks his wife has been unfaithful. Meanwhile, out of his sight, everyone around in him is involved in various grafts and corruptions. It's amazing that a film that seems to argue that the only choice for an honest man is to shun the world is so beautiful and kind of really made me want to visit Slovakia. I feel like this EU Film Festival is hammering me with the idea that Eastern Europe is a corrupt, mad, confusing place right now and their EU-ification is the source of a lot of anxiety. This movie seemed kind of grainy on the big screen, perhaps because it was made for television, but I thought it was really beautiful to look at all the same. I also loved the music. A-

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