Review: ‘Parallel Worlds’

An increasingly dysfunctional couple navigates the treacherous waters of their relationship in the intense but resolutely inscrutable Czech meller "Parallel Worlds." Memories of helmer Petr Vaclav's previous pic, "Marian," may attract some fests, but regional tube play and vid seem more likely.

An increasingly dysfunctional couple navigates the treacherous waters of their relationship in the intense but resolutely inscrutable Czech meller “Parallel Worlds.” Memories of helmer Petr Vaclav’s previous pic, “Marian,” may attract some fests, but regional tube play and vid seem more likely.

Like the perfect model house in the Lucite box on the desk of 44-year-old architect Krystof (Karel Roden), his long-term relationship with needy, troubled g.f. Tereza (Lenka Vlasakova) is a sealed-off scale model of the real thing. They clearly had a bond at one point, but now he’s distracted by taste-deprived clients and mistress Renata, while she mopes around wishing he’d focus more on family than work. Eventually, they survive each other to move in new directions. Vaclav’s point that even the most committed couples can drift apart while going through the motions is presented clearly if somewhat lethargically, with no particular spin. Roden (the heavy in “15 Minutes”) continues to distinguish himself via a moody intensity, while Vlasakova does most of the histrionic heavy lifting. Tech credits are workmanlike. Pic won the Golden Kingfisher award at the recent Pilsen fest.

Parallel Worlds

Czech Republic-The Netherlands

Production

A Tosara/Czech TV/Artcam production. (International sales: Telexport, Prague.) Produced by Katerina Cerna, Petr Vaclav. Directed by Petr Vaclav. Screenplay, Vaclav, Marie Desplechin.

Crew

Camera (color), Stepan Kucera; editors, Luba Durkovicova, Jacques Comets; music, Jiri Vaclav; costume designer, Tereza Kucerova; sound (THX/Dolby Digital), Daniel Nemec. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (Cinema of Tomorrow: New Trends), Aug. 24, 2001. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Lenka Vlasakova, Karel Roden, Jitka Schneiderova, Gabina Skrabakova, Marek Daniel, Petra Ernyeiova.
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