Films & Schedules

  • The Country Teacher
    Venkovský Učitel

  • Bohdan Sláma

Czech Republic/Germany/ France
113 minutes

Production Company:
Negativ/ Pallas Films/Why Not Productions
Pavel Strnad, Petr Oukropec
Bohdan Sláma
Production Designer:
Václav Novák, Petr Pištek, Martin Micka
Diviš Marek
Jan Danhel
Jan Cenek
Vladimír Godár
Principal Cast: Pavel Liška, Zuzana Bydžovská, Ladislav Šedivý, Marek Daniel, Tereza Voríšková

International Sales Agent:
Wild Bunch

Sunday September 0712:00PM AMC 7 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Monday September 0803:15PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Tuesday September 0909:00PM VARSITY 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Bohdan Sláma's exquisite film follows the tender ties that form between a young, gay teacher, a lonely widow and her teenaged son in a small Czech town riddled with homophobia.

When a young natural sciences teacher (Pavel Liška) turns down a prestigious school in Prague to work in the backwaters of a remote Czech village, it seems like an odd choice, but he's looking for the space and quiet that he thinks only the country can afford. Once settled, he meets Marie (Zuzana Bydžovská), a local widow whose husband left her to work their farm and raise an adolescent son (Ladislav Šedivý). They form a firm friendship – one she'd like to take further. What Marie does not realize is that the teacher has actually left Prague to escape both a former lover and the confusion he feels about his own sexuality. It is a reality he is forced to confront, however, when his ex-boyfriend arrives in town, upsetting the tenuous love triangle that has formed between Marie, the teacher and her insolent son.

The Country Teacher is about people who long for love but are too afraid to seek it out or give in to it. It is a simple premise, and the uniqueness of Sláma's treatment – the rural Czech setting, the bucolic mood and the unnerving proposition that his character is a self-hating homosexual – breathe real intrigue and compassion into the story. Sláma does not shy away from uncomfortable facts, and his characters are not the rowdy fellows usually found in Czech cinema. He fills his frames instead with melancholy folk who drown their boredom in bottomless bottles. Liška is one of the Czech Republic's finest working actors and Bydžovská is a renowned theatre performer. Crafted through Sláma's keenly naturalistic eye, The Country Teacher is a poignant and thoughtful work of cinema.

Dimitri Eipides

Bohdan Sláma was born in Opava, Czech Republic. He studied at the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, where he directed the short film Garden of Eden (94) and the feature White Accacias (96). He has also directed the features Wild Bees (01), Something Like Happiness (05), which screened at the Festival, and The Country Teacher (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award