Up and Down (2005) As he demonstrated four years ago in the superb, Oscar-nominated period piece Divided We Fall , filmmaker Jan Hrebejk has a fine talent for dramatizing… 2005-02-25 R PT108M Petr Forman Emilia Vasaryova Sony Pictures Classics
Movie Review

Up and Down (2005)

MPAA Rating: R
Petr Forman, Emilia Vasaryova, ... | PRAGUE ROCKS A moving snapshot of Prague life that's worth Czech-ing out
Image credit: Up and Down: Martin Spelda
PRAGUE ROCKS A moving snapshot of Prague life that's worth Czech-ing out
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Limited Release: Feb 25, 2005; Rated: R; Length: 108 Minutes; With: Petr Forman and Emilia Vasaryova; Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

As he demonstrated four years ago in the superb, Oscar-nominated period piece Divided We Fall, filmmaker Jan Hrebejk has a fine talent for dramatizing the Czech flair for standing erect on insecure moral and political ground. The rollicking social comedy Up and Down continues the director's interest in adaptability and its discontents, then ups the ante by setting the story in the shape-shifting post-Communist present.

Everyone in Hrebejk's deft fable is busy snapping up opportunities while scaling down hopes. A woman desperate for a child (her husband's arrest for soccer hooliganism precludes adopting) buys a baby left behind in an immigrant-smuggler's truck. A professor's illness forces a meeting of his bourgeois present (he lives with a pretty, younger woman and their well-bred daughter) and his scrappier Communist-era past (he left a bitter wife, Vera, and an estranged, now middle-aged son).

Up and Down captures Prague life with a fervor that's comical but a longing that's serious; no one is easy to pigeonhole: A glimpse of Vera, vibrant in a smoky pub, compacts a thousand words into a single picture. It takes an artist like Hrebejk to know when to point and shoot.

Originally posted Feb 23, 2005 Published in issue #809 Mar 04, 2005 Order article reprints