The teacher’s relationship with his ex is volatile and after the lover is rejected by the teacher he, in retaliation, flirts with The Boys girlfriend which leads to a violent confrontation. The lover leaves the countryside (with The Boys girlfriend) leaving the teacher and boy emotionally broken and lonely. The teacher becomes reliant on The Boys attention which leads him commit an act that will possibly alienate him from the community and people that he has come to love.
From the very first shot we see that this is a film about leaving your past behind and starting over from scratch. The teacher walks into this small farming village carrying nothing but a schoolbag despite being from the bustling city of Prague. The mother character, through her husband’s death, has just been released from an abusive relationship and the son who has garnered a reputation of disobedience is trying to establish a new image and life for himself. Nearly all of the interactions between these characters are cries for attention and nearly all of these different advances are rejected. Each of these characters sees in one another the qualities that they are missing in their own lives, but the people that they desire are unwilling or unable to give them what they need. For each of these characters there is a boundary that has been place between them and crossing that boundary will result in the end of whichever relationship has been established. This element of the film seems to comment on human beings tendency to see in others the qualities that they wish they had themselves, resulting in disappointing and troubled relationships.
An impressive irony of the film is that despite the dark elements and questionable activities that the characters engage in the film is surprisingly heart-warming. The simple and endearing countryside setting provides a constant sense of hope and redemption. Regardless of what the characters do, as a viewer you find it hard to cast judgment or carry any sort of disdain for the characters. The characters in the film, all seem to be aware of their flaws and therefore we are forced to empathize with them.
The film has won numerous awards and acclaim for its cinematography and it is just deserved. The film is brilliantly shot and the visuals help the film maintain pacing even during the slower moments in terms of narrative. Rarely do you a see a film that takes place in such a simple setting and it takes a lot of confidence on the part of a filmmaker to feel that they can tell and entertaining and deep story without the aid of a simulating environment. The acting in the film is superb particularly of the lead Pavel Liska, who delivers a performance that varies through the emotions of regret, pain, depression, guilt and ultimately redemption.
The Country Teacher is an excellent examination of the human condition, and an even more excellent example of topnotch filmmaking. Through, comedy, drama and even at times suspense The Country Teacher is a simple film that is emotionally gripping as well as inspiring.
Weak: 1 Star Average: 2 Stars Good: 3 Stars Very Good: 4 Stars Excellent: 5 Stars