Eric Wolfram's Writing, Review of The Wild Bees

The Wild Bees

Directed by Bhodan Sláma

This film, a North American premier which received the SKY Vodka award, opens with old ladies drinking in the early morning before work. Laughter and celebration starts the day, and the film proceeds to celebrate the unusual characters who live in and around a sleepy Czech Republic town. It is a play of characters and not of plot.

At the town center are two young ladies who work at a kiosk and the young men who are drawn to them like wild bees to flowers. We follow Kaja, a timid and simple hero, through the hopelessness of their village -- which seams left behind from the modern world. Although they live in houses with no running water, they plenty of life, laughter, love and sorrow.

Kaja delights his mother with a gift of socks. A reoccurring image of a stone wall leads to a graveyard scene with kerosine lamps and statues and hate. Bozka, a young lady from the kiosk, is the daughter of a prostitute, and we see this diminish Bozka's respectability in they eyes of Kaja's family -- but we also feel the undercurrent of Kaja's silent and awkward love for Bozka.

Unfortunately, Bozka is taken by the comic village stud, a white Micheal Jackson impersonator, who rides off with her on his moped. Dialog is left unsaid, throughout the movie, yet it is surprising what can be said without dialog.

There are gypsies dancing outside a broken down train. Images of cows drinking, hills of grass, and a prevailing damp atmosphere. The occasional hand held camera work is always excellently accomplished. The movie winds up at the fireman's ball, the only nightlife relief for the town. Everything changes for Kaja that night, and you can almost taste the sausages frying at the ball, and joyful sorrow of the villagers who dance there.

Country: Czech Republic
Year: 2001
Run Time: 94 minutes
Cast: Tatiana Vilhelmová, Zdenek Rauser, Pavel Liska, Vanda Hybnerová, Marek Daniel, Jaroslav Dusek
Producer: Viktor Schwarcz, Alice Nemanská, Helena Slaviková
Editor: Jan Danhel
Cinematographer: Divis Marek
Screenwriter: Bhodan Sláma

This Film Was Viewed at the 45th San Francisco International Film Festival

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