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  • Shameless
    Nestyda

  • Jan Hrebejk

Country: Czech Republic
Year:
2009
Language:
Czech
Runtime:
88 minutes
Format:
Colour/35mm

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Description

What happens when a man falls out of love with his wife? In Oskar's case, he turns on the bedside lamp and suddenly realizes how big her nose looks against the bedroom wall! In this single shot, a masterly stroke so simple and yet so scaldingly ironic, Czech director Jan Hrebejk accomplishes the impossible. He tells the story of an unhappy marriage, complete with imminent demise, in one image: the husband reduced to a detached observer, his spouse a literal shadow of her former self, and their future up against the wall. “I like to explore national embarrassments,” Hrebejk once said in an interview with Time magazine, and it seems he meant it.

Oskar (Jirí Machácek), a popular TV weather forecaster, suddenly wakes up to an altered sense of identity: rather than belonging to easygoing wife Zuzana (a bewildered Simona Babcáková), he feels he ought to belong to the whole wide world – hence the national embarrassment. His first entanglement is with babysitter Kocicka (Eva Kerekéšová), a lean teenybopper who's more attached to her pet turtle than her older lover – at least until he accidentally smothers it in the dryer. Next in line is mature pop icon Nora (Emília Vašáryová), who's about to teach him a thing or two about freedom: the more people you let in, the more alone you end up feeling.

Throughout Oskar's mid-life flight from self-awareness, Hrebejk employs an unusually lighthearted palette, cleverly channelling all the joie de vivre that's missing from his characters' lives. The art direction grows increasingly symmetrical as Oskar's fate spirals further out of control. While Zuzana takes uncertain steps toward a new-found happiness, Oskar's promiscuity opens the door to all kinds of loneliness. By the time he ends up in the bathtub with one of his former students (he used to be a teacher), he's too numb to even notice. But that doesn't stop him from going public with his love life on his ex-wife's radio show before he's even had time to dry. Shameless, yes? No, just another one of Hrebejk's national embarrassments!

Dimitri Eipides


Jan Hrebejk studied at the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). His feature Divided We Fall (00) was nominated for an Academy Award® for best foreignlanguage film. His other features include Pupendo (03), Up and Down (04), Beauty in Trouble (06), Teddy Bear (07) and I'm All Good (08). Shameless (09) is his most recent film.

Cadillac People's Choice Award