I Served the King of England DVD
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Directed by Jiri Menzel
Produced in 2006
Main Language - Czech with English subtitles
Julia Jentsch, Ivan Barnev, Oldrich Kaiser, Martin Huba
A man making the best of a given situation as others play out grand plans is a familiar figure in Czech film, and here diminutive waiter Díte does what he can to further his twin ambitions of making money and adoring women in 1930s Prague. Remaining uncommitted in the war that follows is idealistic though, and soon – courtesy of an affair with a German woman the same height as himself – he finds himself a ‘tolerated Aryan-Bohemian’ serving naked blonde women in a selective human breeding station in the hills.
Bringing Hrabal’s novel to the screen was a long-cherished project for Menzel, and time and familiarity with the material have given the film, filled with lovingly recreated period detail, a rosy glow of nostalgic recollection. It’s a comedy; “good comedy should be about serious things” says Menzel, who adds that Díte is basically the central character from Closely Observed Trains four decades on. "What is at first view innocent, later you see is more complicated. But he is just like the rest of us. Nobody is perfect."
Graeme Hobbs on 1st November 2008
Author of 277 reviews
This delightful black comedy, written and directed by Jiri Menzel (Closely Observed Trains), and based on the novel by celebrated Czech author and long-time friend of Menzel's, the late Bohunil Hrabal, tells the story of an ambitious young Czech waiter set on becoming a millionaire despite the occupation of his country by the Germans during WWII. An exploration of opportunism, identity, money, and sex, the film mixes mixes wit and slapstick with sharply observed political and social satire.
Publisher: Arrow Films
Length: 114 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 17th November 2008
Cat No: FCD365
- Notes by Geoff Case.