Sunday, September 19, 2010


Cine Europa 13
Cinema 2, Shang Cineplex

This Czech film is from the father-son duo who graced us with the Oscar award winning film "Kolya".

In "Empties", Jan Sverak again directs his father, the venerated screenwriter/actor Zdenek Sverak in a realistic role about the life of a former high school teacher Josef Tkaloun who has to deal with "forced" retirement. Not one to sit on his laurels, he promptly finds a new job. A sharp contrast to his old work, he gets hired at a supermarket as a bottle sorter. The title "Empties" refers to the empty glass bottles which the customers return to the grocery for disposal.

This film is funny and poignant as well. It explores several aspects into the main character's life (aside from his dealings with the customers of the supermarket) like his marriage which is falling apart, his relationship with his troubled daughter as well as his need to still be useful and fruitful at his age.

These issues were tackled seriously but presented with an armful of wonderful humor. The scenes are funny because they are so realistically human and presents a good perspective on aging and everything it entails. It also has great scenery shots of the Czech countryside as well as the bustling city of Prague. This heart warming film is entirely in Czech (with a sputtering of German) with English subtitles.

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