This is a romanticized look at one of Eastern Europe’s social problems: what to do about property confiscated by the Nazis and the Communists when descendants of their original owners come from abroad to claim them. No answers are given in Vanna Paoli’s rose-colored pic, and prospects are slim for this dramatically thin love story.
Giulia Boschi, whose constant, smiling radiance gets to be a little cloying after a while, plays Elena, an elegant Italian who discovers that her grandparents, who died in the war, owned a house in the small Czech town of Cheb.
She sets off for Cheb with her bored boyfriend in tow, and instantly falls under the spell of the beautiful 17th-century three-story pink house. The principal tenant, a charming old man, tells her all about her grandparents; a town street was even named after her grandfather.
When her b.f. decides to return to Italy, Elena stays on and spends time with Frantisek, a Czech lawyer and son of another tenant of the house. Frantisek shows her around the streets of old Prague, and romance blossoms.
Pic ends there, without confronting the pressing decisions facing Elena (whether to stay on in Cheb and give up her life in Italy, how her romance is likely to develop, what to do with the house). It’s a cozy, romantic ending, but a complete cop-out.
Helmer Paoli evidently fell in love with the Czech people and old Czech architecture, and her film is basically a valentine to them. But the resulting film is an insubstantial affair.