REVIEW: We already know what preceded the Pelíks. Telenovela Family friend

REVIEW: We already know what preceded the Pelíks. Telenovela Family friend

The saddest thing about the Family Friend is that the viewer knows exactly what the authors did and appreciates the intention - but the result lags far behind him. Each family has its own memory of the imprints of great history in the private lairs through which history is best told. But the prologue of Horticulture, which takes place during the war, has chosen the ground plan of an unfulfilled romance, a moral soap opera, whose unconditionally noble heroes make it practically impossible for the viewer to form a relationship with them.

Three sales, three chances for the Lions

What awaits Hřebejk's trilogy Horticulture

The second insidiousness lies in the connection with Pelíšky. At the same time, the speculative way of building on a successful brand betrays the creator, because the viewer has the character of a choleric veteran, played by Jiří Kodet, firmly in mind. So if Family Friend most of the time relies on the alleged death of the same character that Martin Finger took over here, he deprives himself of mystery and tension.

The opening film of the trilogy, framed 1939–45, presents three sisters whose men involved in the resistance are arrested by the Gestapo; they and their children are cared for by a family doctor and a close friend of Finger's hero, played by Ondřej Sokol. It is between him and Finger's film wife, or Anna Geisler, that a spark jumps, which, in the words of the filmmakers, "everyone knows and is silent"; only the love tension would remain hidden from the viewer if the characters in all the chastity of the novel did not talk about it.

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"I have to control every smile, every look," Geisler confesses to the forbidden love, while Sokol treads in embarrassment and the sisters - Gabriela Míčová and Klára Melíšková - exchange important glances in which alliances, disagreements and jealousy should be reflected.

At the same time, however, everyone plays stiffly, reciting their parties, often posing more in arranged, even tediously prepared situations, including a few rare sketches like with a goose, which promise a trace of humor.

An exception is the elemental Sabina Remund as Finger's sister, even though she, in turn, seems to have strayed into the melodramatic drifting of the Family Friend from a completely different film. Children thus win over the unexpectedly bloodless expression of the acting constellation, although their nature is also subjected to difficult trials in dialogues.

Gardening: Family friend

Czechia, 2017, 130 min

Director: Jan Hřebejk

Screenplay: Petr Jarchovský

Cast: Karel Dobrý, Martin Finger, Anna Geislerová, Lenka Krobotová

Rating: 50%

However, it is not just a time-appropriate but screwed tongue. As if she has succumbed to the burden of a "life project", there is also the former lightness of Hřebejk, a master of sparkling and painfully obvious scenes at the family table. Suddenly, it literally illustrates every step and course, every item on Christmas Eve, and loses a sense of the rhythm of the story, which is forcibly dragged over by eye-catching symbols of the Russian soldier entering the house on horseback or almost junk to several ends, including an invitation to a second film called Deserter.

It may be more interesting, but the question remains, who will bet on the sequel after the unfulfilled experience of the Family Friend.