This first Czech surrealistic thriller stirred the Czech film critic's silent waters last year. They praised it above all for its originality and the creation of an imaginary universe with a history and rules all its own. The film is set in and around an old, ramshackle manor (the mise-en-scène is strongly reminiscent of Pavel Jurácek's films) in an unspecified country. The two Czadsky brothers with their wives and two of their cousins, Max and Leo, come here to find out what is left of their family heritage. They are allowed to come here again in the wake of an unpleasant and unspecified era that resembles the communist period. The guests are welcomed by the old caretaker who used to work for their father, and who recreates the atmosphere of the good old aristocratic times by cooking and above all by preparing for the hunt. Hunting must be performed according to strict guidelines that are not ordinary in the least. The prey as well as the instruments used to hunt are mysteriously original, if not altogether weird. Vaterland is the debut of theatre director David Jarab and brings a new, unusual turn to contemporary Czech cinema. The story bears elements of fantasy, horror and a flavour of a detective story, and calls to mind the work of surrealists Jan Svankmajer and Louis Buñuel. (LC)

Original title
Vaterland - lovecky deník
Filmmaker
David Jarab
Premiere
International premiere
Country
Czech Republic
Year
2004
Medium
35mm
Length
94’
Language
Czech
Producer
Cineart TV Prague, Czech Television - Studio Ostrava, Viktor Schwarcz
Sales
Filmexport Prague
Writer
David Jarab
Website
http://www.vaterland.cz