Up until this weekend, the most I have thought about the Czech Republic occurred when I was rooting on Dominik Hasek’s goaltending abilities as a Buffalo Sabres fan. However Jan Hrebejk’s new film, Up and Down, has taught me that there is much more to this complex and beautiful country than hockey talent. While Up and Down is primarily a film by Czechs about Czechs, the themes involved in the film can apply to almost anywhere and the movie’s original and enjoyable plot can be appreciated by anyone.
The film follows the paths of three groups of people ranging from criminals to torn families. At the center of the film is a small baby who is left in a truck belonging to criminals after they have illegally transported his parents into Czech territory. When the criminals bring the child to their corrupt pawn shop, they decide to sell it. The new mother turns out to be the quiet Mila (Natasa Burger) who desperately wants a child but is unable to give birth or adopt due to her husband Franta’s (Jir