The Country Teacher – Venkovský Ucitel (Bohdan Sláma, 2008): Czech Republic

Reviewed by Hrair Panossian. Viewed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival 2009.

It seemed that everyone talked about the movie The Country Teacher . At the beginning of the festival I wasn’t sure about many of the International contributions because of the vague descriptions in the guide that everyone gets. But this is the last one of the top three international movies that I watched, and I’m glad that I did.

In the movie we follow a teacher from Prague with a history of many other jobs and a past in Prague that he would rather forget. He moves to a rural town where he settles down and becomes a biology teacher. He lives in a house that has other occupants as well. A mother and son that have cows, horses and live the agricultural life. During the movie we se his homosexual tendencies, how he falls in love with the boy and is really frustrated that he isn’t able to express his true feelings. When his ex-boyfriend tracks him down, it messes up his entire new life that he re-builds.

I can’t help to draw the similarities to the movie “Brokeback Mountain”. The two men that try to hide their homosexuality from the public for the reason that “they won’t understand”. It is the same idea of this movie, I feel. The acting by Pavel Liska is excellent and you can’t do anything but feel sorry for him. I just recently thought about a important thing in the movie. We never in the film get the name of the teacher! If anyone who saw this movie remembers the name of the teacher, please comment my review, because I can’t figure it out.

The movie portrays an image of a harsh place to be openly gay. Although many of the persons in the movie accepts his sexual preference, it is still a tough question to deal with and to come out as gay must be one of the hardest things to do if you’re gay.
The movie was very entertaining, even if it was a bit to sad for me sometimes, but it truly exceeded all the expectations that the movie had.

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