Four wild-haired Czechoslovak teens rebel against their parents, teachers and the communist system in the nostalgic crowdpleaser "Identity Card."
Four wild-haired Czechoslovak teens rebel against their parents, teachers and the communist system in the nostalgic crowdpleaser “Identity Card,” from Czech producer and occasional helmer Ondrej Trojan (Oscar-nommed “Zelary”). Petr Jarchovsky, the regular screenwriter of director Jan Hrebejk (also from Trojan’s stable), fluidly transposes Petr Sabach’s episodic 1970s-set novel to the bigscreen, with much of this ostalgie-filled effort’s charm coming from the strong ensemble of vets and young non-pros. Local B.O. was impressive and could inspire further regional play.
Clique of protag Petr (Libor Kovar) includes poncho-wearing Vaclav (Matous Vrba); young erotic poet Ales (Jakub Sarka) and bespectacled nerd Mita (Jan Vlcek). The wannabe hippies, obsessed with Western rock, drink and discuss girls and opportunities to insult the authorities. Pic traces their picaresque misadventures from ages 15, when they receive their titular IDs, to 18, when they try to dodge conscription. Stakes feel low, but setpieces, rife with recognizable teen behavior, are diverting, while storylines involving a pretty teacher (Kristyna Liska-Bokova) and Petr’s dad (Martin Mysicka) grow unexpectedly poignant. Production design and costumes look at the past through rose-tinted glasses; rest of the tech package hits all the right notes.