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The premise starts out bleak, but slowly creeps into life and the payoff is worth the wait.


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Tale is about waiter Jan Dite who has just been released from prison after serving 14 years and 7 months of a 15 year sentence. You don’t find out until the end of the movie what he did wrong, but it is the getting there that makes this film work.

Told in flashback, you find out at the beginning that the young Dite has two ambitions in life – be a millionaire and own his own hotel. Starting out life at the lower rungs of the service industry, young Dite slowly makes his way up the ladder through various means, but usually as the result of getting somebody else in trouble, culminating in him being asked to look after the Aryan girls at the Nazi breeding programme in Czechoslovakia.

There is also a minor story running parallel in the present, with the just-released Dite having to build a road of gravel in the middle of nowhere while entertaining an alluring girl and her older boss who are there looking for trees that are the right type to make musical instruments from.

Pic is shot brilliantly, and Barnev is particularly outstanding as the young Dite. This is a poignant flim that is meant to have a light feel to it. For those who liked the first half of Life Is Beautiful, you’ll probably like this one as well.

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