All My Good Countrymen

1969 [CZECH]

Comedy / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 100%
IMDb Rating 7.5 10 945

1940s politics rural area countryside post world war ii

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Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN
October 28, 2022 at 06:33 PM


Top cast

1.08 GB
Czech 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 0 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jandesimpson 9 / 10

A treasure from the Prague Spring

Although I was unaware of the name, Vlastimil Brodsky, I recognised the face immediately from his obituary photograph in a newspaper the other day, a face as distinctive and unforgettable as that of Louis Jouvet or Michel Simon. Brodsky brought distinction to a number of fine Czech films particularly in the '60's. but it is his performance of Ocenas, the organist in Vojtech Jasny's "All My Good Countrymen", that I remember most. The obituary prompted me to take another look at this fine cinematic product of the Prague Spring. Unfortunately it followed the fate of two other politically liberating films of the period, "Funeral Ceremony" and "The Ear", by being banned during the years of repression that followed, only to resurface with the collapse of communism. Their rediscovery was one of the most important cinematic events in recent years. The title "All My Good Countrymen" is not without irony as this epic tale of Czech village life from shortly after the end of the second world war concentrates on the activities of a group of friends who are not beyond reproach in siding with a politically corrupt regime for material advancement. Are these the "good countrymen" of the title or does it refer to the rest of the village who scorn these petty authority figure with silent contempt? By portraying the friends sometimes with quirky affection and sometimes as petty bullies, the director displays a certain moral ambiguity that makes one feel that the message behind it all has not quite been fully thought out. Another area of puzzlement is the three strange deaths that punctuate the narrative flow. They have an almost dreamlike quality, but, powerful as they are, their significance is not entirely clear. Where the film wholly succeeds however is in its wonderful evocation of time and place. The passing of seasons, particularly winter landscapes, have a beauty that is quite breathtaking. The symphonic score by Svatopluk Havelka, a rich tapestry of ostinato figures, beautifully compliments these landscape interludes while an unaccompanied trombone solo highlights the three moments of death. But it would be wrong to give the impression that "All My Good Countrymen" is a film where style matters more than substance. The use of a silent village crone, generally seen in closeup at moments of crucial drama, brilliantly sums up the stupidity of so many of the main characters' actions - an inspired use of a type of wordless Greek Chorus. In fact the film is often at its most powerful when it uses silence. Note the wonderfully poignant use of gesture when the honest young farmer takes leave of his family on his arrest. It is at moments such as this that the film achieves greatness.

Reviewed by rocek 10 / 10

An epic vision of a small village

This film tells the story of a village in Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1968. Combining satire, farce, drama, poetry, and pure photo-lyricism seamlessly, it shows how politics and daily village life are interwoven in the fates of a broad spectrum of the village's inhabitants. The film's audacity and epic scope remind me of early Orson Welles--don't miss it!

Reviewed by dale_rosenthal 9 / 10

Quiet desperation

An excellent film that takes a group of villagers as allegorical characters for Czechoslovakian society. The film follows these people from post-WWII (and pre- communism) to the late 50s, watching as they and their village change. In terms of the unescapable creeping feeling of dread, I was reminded of Ang Lee's _The Ice Storm_. While the film is clumsy at times (some shots or plot shifts might have been done better), the cinematography can be very resourceful. Watch also for the classic symbols of Czech identity: the geese, the white horse (from the legend of Libuse), and the old women (from the Czech novel _Babicka_). These mirror the plot nicely.

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