Horem pádem (a.k.a. Loop the Loop)
starring Petr Forman, Emília Vásáryová, Jan Tríska, Ingrid Timková
screenplay by Jan Hrebejk & Petr Jarchovský
directed by Jan Hrebejk
THE UPSIDE OF ANGER
starring Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood
written and directed by Mike Binder
by Walter Chaw Packed to the gills with what ails Czech life, Jan Hrebejk's Up and Down (Horem pádem) is a roundelay of social dysfunction, encompassing in 108 frantic minutes what feels like everything that's gone wrong with the Republic in the last twenty years. Illegal immigration and the racism attendant to it, social groups morphing into organized hate groups, the disintegration of traditional bonds, organized crime, white slavery--all of it is tossed into a loud, anxious bundle and presented as a confused overview of the hell of modern life. Begin with a Muslim child accidentally abandoned by one of a truckload of smuggled aliens and continue into the story of poor simpleton Franta (Jiri Machacek) and his baby-crazy wife, Mila (Natasa Burger), who together channel the conflict of Raising Arizona. Then there's an old professor (Jan Tríska) trying to win a divorce from his long-estranged wife (Emilia Vasaryova) so that he can marry his long-time girlfriend (Igrid Timkova), and the whole thing climaxes with something like a wagged finger, with the professor's expat son (Petr Forman) bucking the reactionary provincialism of his homeland by revealing an aboriginal wife and a mulatto son.