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Film Review: New Czech Cinema at the Northwest Film Center

Highlights include the droll comedy "Schmitke" and the visually stunning rediscovery "The Fabulous World of Jules Verne."

Writing about the Northwest Film Center’s annual New Czech Cinema series, the temptation is always there to resort to groan-inducing puns. “Czech these movies out.” “Cash these Czechs.” That sort of thing. But only a reviewer desperate for some pizzazz in their prose would do such a thing. Right?

This is usually one of the more enjoyable recurring programs on the Film Center’s calendar, and this year’s crop of five films is no exception. The opening night selection, “Home Care,” (Friday, May 6) played during February’s Portland International Film Festival. It’s about a nurse in a small Czech town who travels the countryside to care for her patients. When she ends up on the other side of the health care equation, it proves to be a challenge both for her and for her hapless, schnapps-loving husband. What could have been a sappy, manipulative melodrama is, in the hands of first-time director Slávek Horák, a grounded, poignant, and occasionally very funny film.


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