All My Good Countrymen (Všichni dobří rodáci) (12) | Home Ents Review

Všichni dobří rodáci

Dir.  Vojtěch Jasný, Czechoslovakia, 1968, 115 mins, with subtitles

Cast: Vlastimil Brodský, Radoslav Brzobohatý, Vladimír Mensík, Waldemar Matuska

There’s something wonderfully familiar about Vojtěch Jasný’s masterpiece of the Czech New Wave, All My Good Countrymen – out now from Second Run DVD.

That’s testament to the universal appeal of the film and perhaps also its influence, as both Edgar Reitz and Michael Haneke have expressed admiration for All My Good Countrymen.

Set in a small rural community between 1945 and 1968, the film introduces us to six inhabitants and shows how their lives change under communist rule.

The story, with its group of friends depleted one by one as the communist era takes hold, sounds depressive; but the beautiful shots of rural life and nature put this moribund aspect in the shade.

The episodic structure of the film works beautifully too, keeping the film moving and never letting it bog down in specific sequences.

Completed just prior to the Soviet invasion of 1968, All My Good Countrymen screened briefly but was quickly banned in Czechoslovakia. A print was smuggled out of the country and screened at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival, where it went onto win both the Best Director and Jury Prize that year.

Features include:

  • Superb new HD digital transfer
  • Vojtěch Jasný’s 1969 short film Bohemian Rhadsopy (Česká věta).
  • Booklet featuring a new essay by author and film programmer Peter Hames.
  • New and improved English subtitle translation.

Review by Colin Dibben

Out on DVD now.

Colin Dibben

Author: Colin Dibben

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