Peace to their Soul

Drenched in rural Czech folklore and performed with brio by an amateur cast, "Peace to Their Soul" is a charming and utterly original feature documentary about the picaresque history of a rural region spanning more than a century of events both great and small. Though limited by nature to regional theatrical biz, adventurous fest programmers and tube buyers will want to have a look.

With:
With: Mirek Kucera, Eva Machackova, Misa Rybanska, Anezka Pokorna, Jiri Posepny, Lucie Nesvadbova, Cestmir Blaha, Stevo Capko.

rDenched in rural Czech folklore and performed with brio by an amateur cast, “Peace to Their Soul” is a charming and utterly original feature documentary about the picaresque history of a rural region spanning more than a century of events both great and small. Though limited by nature to regional theatrical biz, adventurous fest programmers and tube buyers will want to have a look.

After Stingl explains the concept to villagers set to play their own descendants, pic spends nearly an hour charting the fortunes of Jan Schovanek (Stevo Capko), a flugelhorn-blowing entrepreneur who builds a profitable wooden bead business that changes with the times. A later story follows the sad fate of Great War widow Kveta (Lucie Nesvadbova), as well as the mismatched pair who are sent to fetch her body from a remote cabin. Throughout proceedings, a local pub acts as the center of this remote universe. At the end, past and present merge together in the freshly fallen snow. Staged docu footage feels at once bracingly real and beguilingly fraudulent, further imbuing this breathlessly told saga of a spirited people with lusty optimism and benevolent mischief.

Peace to their Soul

Czech Republic

Production: A Bontonfilm release (in the Czech Republic) of a K2 production. Produced by Vratislav Slajer, Jindrich Bares, Jiri Kostyr, Patrik Fischl-Prossliner, Zuzana Vrbova. Directed by Pavel Stingl. Screenplay, Stingl, Ivan Arsanjev.

Crew: Camera (color), Miroslav Janek; editor, Tonicka Jankova; music, Vaclav Fiala; set designer, Bara Hubena; costume designer, Eva Kotkova. Reviewed at Finale Pilsen, Czech Republic, April 29, 2005. Czech, German, Russian dialogue. Running time: 115 MIN.

With: With: Mirek Kucera, Eva Machackova, Misa Rybanska, Anezka Pokorna, Jiri Posepny, Lucie Nesvadbova, Cestmir Blaha, Stevo Capko.

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