Up and Down

Rated R 2005

On the border of the Czech Republic, a pair of two-bit crooks (Zdenek Suchy and Jan Budar) smuggle immigrants into Germany, but after their latest job realize they've made a horrible mistake. Meanwhile, a chronically lonely housewife named Hana (Ingrid Timkova) desperately wants a baby, but thanks to her racist soccer hooligan husband's parole, is unable to adopt one. Far away, in Australia, a prodigal son (Petr Forman) returns home to find that his ex-girlfriend has taken up with his terminally ill father and given him a sister he never knew. This is no anthology film, though -- all three stories will intersect several times and leave indelible effects upon one another. Czech Republic's Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, Up and Down (Horem Pádem) ought to gain some viewers here with its dark sense of humor and stylish cinematography by Jan Malir. Director Jan Hrebejk names Mike Leigh as an influence, but frankly he's way cooler.

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