Renowned Czech actor Vlastimil Brodsky (Jacob the Liar)—who passed away in April 2002 at the age of 81—gives one last great performance in Vladimír Michálek’s touching Autumn Spring, the story of a clownish man intent on living each day to its fullest despite the harping of his dour wife and selfish son. Fanda (Brodsky) and his best friend Eda (Stanislave Zindulka) are former theater actors and unrepentant pranksters, pulling off amusing scams both large (tricking realtors into believing they’re going to buy a multi-million dollar mansion) and small (swindling an old stage colleague out of her meager pension). The two are irresponsible and incorrigible, and Fanda’s wife Emílie (Stella Zázvorková) is flummoxed by her husband’s unwillingness to stop acting like a child and begin dealing with preparations for their funerals. Michálek’s delightful film charts the devilish Fanda’s attempts to remain young despite the depressing and debilitating effects of old age. The old man’s refusal to behave maturely is a heartfelt and defiant rebuke to the aging process. As the film’s contradictory title suggests, Autumn Spring is about a simultaneous end and beginning, and Michálek dexterously balances the film’s rueful somberness with infectious optimism. When Emílie takes Fanda to the site of their future resting places, he’s more interested in cheering up an elderly cemetery worker—Fanda instinctively impersonates the man’s long-lost friend and, in the process, makes the stranger’s day—than poring over the mundane and, to him, inconsequential details of his impending death. It’s a small, dignified, and inspiring example of Fanda’s refusal to give up on life, and characteristic of this nimble and charming Czech import.
- First Look International
- 97 min
- Vladimír Michálek
- Jirí Hubac
- Vlastimil Brodsky, Stella Zázvorková, Stanislav Zindulka, Ondrej Vetchy, Petra Spalková, Jirí Lábus
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