Folk tale meets silent film in the wordless but eventful doings involving a Czech family and the meat-packing plant where dad works (and cheats on mom). Debt to Buster Keaton and silent comedy is delightfully high, with everything run through a filter of central-Euro absurdism. Ideal fest fare, pic is fun for the whole dysfunctional family -- who don't mind seeing dead animals cut to pieces.

Folk tale meets silent film in the wordless but eventful doings involving a Czech family and the meat-packing plant where dad works (and cheats on mom). Debt to Buster Keaton and silent comedy is delightfully high, with everything run through a filter of central-Euro absurdism. Ideal fest fare, pic is fun for the whole dysfunctional family — who don’t mind seeing dead animals cut to pieces.

Everything revolves around a big abattoir and packing house, where burly papa (Bolek Polivka, “Divided We Fall”) sniffs around the local bleach-blonde trollop (Barbora Munzarova) while his aging wife (veteran Eva Holubova) tries desperately to keep his flagging interest. Their skateboard-punk offspring (the helmer’s son, Tomas Vorel Jr.), defaces the plant while his little sister (Anicka Marhoulova), is followed by the long-nosed troublemaking title creature (closest English word is “imp”) who bathes everything he touches in a garish, neon-colored glow. Use of gibberish to underline what’s being mimed suggests nostalgia for Zagreb-style animation, back when surreal cartoons were tailored to fit all tastes behind the Iron Curtain. Cameos from other helmers and top thesps such as Vaclav Marhoul and Ondrej Trojan add Czechophile fun.

Skritek

Czech Republic

Production

A Studio Mirage production, in association with Czech Television and Vorel Film. (International sales: Czech TV, Warner Bros. CZ, Prague.) Produced, directed, written, edited by Tomas Vorel.

Crew

Camera (color), Marek Jicha; music, Mig 21; production designer, Petr Pistek; costume designer, Blanka Tesarova. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Cinema of Our Time), Oct. 8, 2005. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Bolek Polivka, Eva Holubova, Tomas Vorel, Anicka Marhoulova, Jiri Machacek, Barbora Munzarova, Marika Sarah Prochazkova, Ivana Chylkova, Jaroslav Dusek, Milan Steindler, Tomas Hanak, Jan Kraus, Ondrej Trojan, Vaclav Marhoul.
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