A small love story with a big heart, “A Little Piece of Heaven” follows two young strangers who fall deeply for each other through a series of glances and touches while incarcerated at a 1950s communist prison camp. Perhaps too slight for theatrical rewards beyond regional territories, pic is a fine, low-key fest entry and a good bet for tube and ancillary rewards on the strength of the modest but fully realized ambitions of helmer Peter Nikolaiev.
“Don’t get excited, just survive,” jaded prisoner Bruno (Petr Forman) advises spirited young Lubos (Jakub Doubrava). But when the young man falls hard for beautiful laundress Dana (Tana Pauhofova), their almost palpable love places them all at risk. Young leads are fervent without becoming mawkish, Forman provides a steadying voice of experience. Pungent support comes from the always intense Zuzana Stivinova as a rival for Lubos’ affection and Ondrej Vetchy in a comic turn as a doctor in whose office the lovers first embrace. Tech package is fine, led by Jiri Vesely’s convincing art direction and Martin Smolka’s avant-garde score. Co-scripter Jiri Stransky based his novel on personal experience as a political prisoner.