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Joint Venture

Reviewed at Vienna Film Festival, Oct. 20, 1994. Running time: 90 MIN.

Reviewed at Vienna Film Festival, Oct. 20, 1994. Running time: 90 MIN.

Eva … Michaela Kuklova

Christian … Gregor Bloeb

Liane … Nina Franoszek

Adamec … Jiri Menzel

Pavel … Jan Novotny

Harada … Tad Horino

A bright, well-made comedy on East European cross-border business, “Joint Venture” is a clever and entertaining update of

commedia dell’arte characters and plot complications with just enough twists to keep auds engrossed. Pic is itself a joint venture of Austrian and Czech actors and locations, and looks set to move offshore into limited venues.

Eva (Michaela Kuklova), a hotel bar dancer, agrees to marry Harada (Tad Horino), an octogenarian Japanese businessman with a teenager’s sex drive, and act as his front to acquire real estate in Prague. When Harada collapses from over-stimulation, Eva is left without a meal ticket. She cajoles a more desirable young Austrian, Christian (Gregor Bloeb), into taking Harada’s place at the altar.

Christian, who’s been sent toPrague by his business partner/lover Liane (Nina Franoszek) to buy the same property, spots an opportunity. But the adorable Eva follows him back to Vienna, where a farcical menage a trois ensues. When Harada’s associates show up, the entire cast ends up in a bidding war that pits Eva against her equally penniless ex-husband (Jan Novotny).

The movie clips along at a bright pace, and Kuklova is spunky and enchanting as Eva. Vet Czech helmer Jiri Menzel pops up in a supporting role as a Prague gangster. Tech credits are fine.

Joint Venture

(AUSTRIAN)

Production: An Epo-Film production. Produced by Dieter Pochlatko. Directed by Dieter Berner. Screenplay, Hilde Berger.

Crew: Camera (color), Walter Kindler; editor, Irene Tomschik; music, George Berner; costume design, Heidi Melinc; sound, Heinz Ebner.

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