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The Past

A deaf man faces the mistakes of his past in this Czech drama whose goal is to benefit the hearing-impaired through any proceeds netted. More a psychological exploration than a narrative, pic suffers from an overindulgence of experimental techniques and an unusual sound design that render it more confusing and far less accessible than its creators might have hoped.

A deaf man faces the mistakes of his past in this Czech drama whose goal is to benefit the hearing-impaired through any proceeds netted. More a psychological exploration than a narrative, pic suffers from an overindulgence of experimental techniques and an unusual sound design that render it more confusing and far less accessible than its creators might have hoped.

Frantisek (Karel Zima), the deaf protagonist, spends several years in a prison for a crime explained through suggestive flashbacks and muddled imagery. Apparently, Frantisek killed a man who he believed was menacing his girlfriend Liza (Madla Zimova). Once out of jail, he searches desperately for Liza, but finds only red herrings and rude strangers, both of which reinforce his sense of alienation. Sound design includes various atmospheric effects but not one spoken word, choices that are clearly meant to cement a viewer/protagonist identification. Lensing ranges from verite-style hand-held segments to dreamy, disorienting meditative sequences that suggest Frantisek’s tenuous grasp on reality.

The Past

(DRAMA -- CZECH)

  • Production: A World Circle and Czech TV production in cooperation with the Union of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Czech Republic. Produced by Ivo Trajkov, Vladimir Chrenovsky. Directed, written by Ivo Trajkov. Camera (color), Klaus Fuxjager; editor, Bara Kastakova; music, Vladimir Chrenovsky; production/costume designer, Radim Valak; sound, Vladimir Stepanek. Reviewed at Sarajevo Film Festival (Regional Program), Aug. 22, 1999. Original title: Minulost. Running time: 96 MIN.
  • Crew:
  • With: With: Karel Zima, Klara Melisova, Peter Georgiev.
  • Music By: