A genial ne’er-do-well cruises the 1970s Czechoslovak counterculture in gritty, immediate drama “It Gonna Get Worse.” Shot on 16mm newsreel stock by a largely student crew and thesped with conviction, new pic from “The Wonderful Years That Sucked” helmer Petr Nikolaev covers a similar period but with urgent verisimilitude, suggesting strong fest play, modest sales and cultish ancillary afterlife.
To escape compulsory military service, long-haired Olin Brada (Karel Zidek) slashed his wrists and was committed. Freshly sprung, he hooks up with buddies in a pub in unnamed Soviet-occupied northern Czechoslovak city. As an underground scene slowly coalesces around him, Olin and his mates experience various adventures, including an all-night love-in on a soccer field that results in him officiating numerous wedding ceremonies the next morning. Grubby as these hippies are, they’re also strong enough — or dumb enough — to stand up to thuggish local cops; that is, until an assault sets Olin and lovers Olina (Tereza Hofova) and Otto (Filip Kankovsky) on the run. Episodic nature of events is kept on firm track by Nikolaev and the committed cast. Fine 35mm blow-up showcases the distressed beauty of Divis Marek’s instinctual camerawork.