Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Marbles (Kuličky): a film

Pilsen is just hosting the 22nd Festival of Czech films. The Czech movie Marbles (Kuličky) became another part of my week in the cinemas - and it was extremely good.
See the trailer (Czech)
Warning: spoilers are included below

Its director, Ms Olga Dabrowská, has connected four stories by one unifying theme: the natural ability of women to manipulate with men. The first story takes place among children who play on the playground; the actors in the last story are above 80 and the exploitation of the man by his wife doesn't even end with his death.

The first story, The Wedding, is very short. Children play a "wedding game". As soon as a boy becomes a "husband", he is prevented by his new "wife" from joining others who search for a treasure.

We get to the world of teenagers (around 14) in the second story, Mom's Little Angel. We meet a girl who controls a boy whom she likes by telling him that she has cancer. However, the main hero of the story - and another example of subtle blackmailing - is another girl (Tereza Nvotová) who hates her mother's new intimate relationship with a man. The daughter decides to have sex with him, too. By bringing him into this impossibly painful situation, she probably manages to terminate his relationship with her mother.

The third story, A Moral Imperative, is about adults. An ugly Christian woman who lives in a stable family background brings her attractive and adventurous blonde classmate from the high school to a Christian weekend in the countryside. The blonde's own main goal is to pick a man and she finds the Catholic priest himself (Jiří Vyorálek) to be the most eligible one. At the end, she makes him break the celibate by an interaction that both people find satisfactory - an event that is uncovered by the other believers.

The blonde is clearly not presented as the ultimate "evil": many of the Christians are shown to be driven by jealousy and the desire to screw other people's feelings. The church hierarchy is ready to forgive the priest's sins but he realizes the moral responsibility and leaves the church for the woman who has given him a gift: her positive pregnancy test.

The final, fourth story, Slowly I Am Fading Away, is about a very old couple. He is a poet. She cooks and washes for him, and so on, but you can see how much she enjoys to restrict his freedom and especially his love for poetry - and how much she loves to paint herself as the important person. The guy passes away: she has arguably contributed to his decline. Her comments above his grave are strikingly similar to those above the bed when he was still alive. At least, a rock band uses his lyrics, Slowly I Am Fading Away, in their new vigorous song.

Recommended (although I am afraid that non-Czech readers might find it difficult to see it).

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