Monday, August 1, 2011
TrustMovies, a film comes along that is perfectly all right, more or less -- in terms of subject matter and style, concept and execution -- but that resolutely refuses to engage him. (Or he it.) Such a movie is PROTEKTOR, the 2009 Czech submission for "Oscar" bait as Best Foreign Language Film for 2010. Attempts at engagement were repeatedly made on TM's part, as the film is coming to us via Film Movement, a distribution company, the catalog of which, is full of fine movies, with rarely a clinker in the bunch. But while Protektor won a slew of awards in its home country, it's not a patch on the Czech Republic's Oscar submission from this past year, the fine Kawasaki's Rose.
Robert Geisler and Benjamin Tucek) by Marek Najbrt, shown at left, the movie is a not uninteresting mash-up of film noir, World War II, Jews-in-danger and films-about-filmmaking/filmgoing/
film-projection (several key scenes take place on a shoot or in a cinema). Beginning in the middle, moving backward and then forward again until we've caught up, Protektor does have a few surprises in store, mostly involving the use of bicycles (see the film's poster above).
Marek Daniel, above), who works for Czech radio, sees his career advancing, even as his Jewish wife, a beautiful actress on the cusp of stardom (Jana Plodková, below), sees hers destroyed. Bent on protecting his wife at (almost) all costs, the fellow instead nearly drives her (and us) to distraction.
God knows, there's plenty of dramatic possibility here, but from the outset the pacing seems off -- slow, with too much time wasted. Simple storytelling is given a backseat to "style" (that drained color palette, shown below, is growing tiresome from over-use).
Tomás Mechácek below, left) who's carrying a torch for her -- plants herself firmly in the latter's frightening venue.
Protektor arrives in New York on Friday, August 5, at both the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, and elsewhere perhaps in the coming weeks and months. Otherwise, as with all Film Movement titles, this one will eventually be available via DVD.