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The Country Teacher (2008)

Pavel Liska , Zuzana Bydzovska , Bohdan Slama  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Pavel Liska, Zuzana Bydzovska, Marek Daniel
  • Directors: Bohdan Slama
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Czech
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001TLZ2ZW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,511 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Beautifully crafted --Variety

Bracing --Screen Daily

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Voice in Czech Cinema July 11, 2009
Bohdan Slama is becoming the new voice in Czech cinema. In three films he has shown himself to be a major talent. His film The Country Teacher presents a simple yet powerful story about unrequited love and the human power of forgiveness.

A teacher (Pavel Liska) moves to a small rural village in order to take a job teaching natural science at the local elementary school. He is a quiet introspective man who does not seem to fit into the setting that he has placed himself in after having taught in Prague. He soon becomes friends with a lonely widow Marie (Zuzana Bydzovska) and her rebellious 17 year old son Lada (Ladislav Sedivy). As the friendship progresses the audience learns that the teacher has no sexual interest in Marie but no reason is given. When a former boyfriend of the teacher arrives in the village a chain of events is set off that willlead to painful revelations about all three of the main characters.

The film concentrates on characters not on convoluted plot lines to get its story across. There are long takes that focus on individual faces. Director of photography Divis Marek does an admirable job filming the bucolic landscape with long lenses in order to force his viewers into the story. If there is a flaw with the film it is that the ending is a little contrived but the message that forgivness is necessary for us to evolve as humans is universal. There are also messages about the diversity of life that are played out in the daily lives of the characters..

This film had a limited screening in my location but I was able to view the Film Movement DVD. The standatd definition disc presents the film with no real issues and the subtitles are easy to read and seem to get at the nuances in Slama's script.

This one is worth checking out if you can find it. The film was an official selection at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals and won the Audience Award at the Cottbus Film Festival.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Drama August 23, 2009
This is a low key, but very beautiful Czech film. A talented young teacher leaves his prestigious teaching job in Prague to teach in a small rural school and locals are somewhat suspicious of his motives, but never-the-less welcome him into local activities. It is later revealed that Peter is gay, but wants more meaning out of life than offered by casual city hookups. The major focus of the film is not Peter's gayness, but on the relationship between Peter, a lonely widow Marie and her rebellious 17 year old son. The film's portrayal of pastoral farm life is spectacular and leads an element of visceral truth to the film. This is a heartfelt drama that deals with very human issues.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The price of escape January 4, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For Czechophiles, Bogdan Slama`s latest film, `The Country Teacher`(Venkovsky Ucitel), is a must see. With its panoramic shots of emerald forests and sapphire lakes, the film captures the magic of the Czech lands. Moreover, `The Country Teacher` radiates that indescribable Central European essence much like a Hrabal novel.

And yes, there is a story as well. A timeless and beautiful one at that, a fable about love, self-acceptance and our indestructible need for others. The `teacher` in question has left a prestigious teaching position in Prague, transferring instead to a village elementary school. The locals are glad to have such a learned person teaching their children. Yet, they can`t understand why he has come. Self-effacing and bookish, the teacher inspires his new pupils. Soon, he makes the acquaintance of a simple peasant woman and her teenaged son. Helping the son with his math lessons, the teacher soon becomes a regular at their dilapidated farmhouse.

Yet, cracks begin to appear in the teacher`s seemingly enigmatic mask. He is lonely and stand-offish, yet he rejects the romantic advances of the farm lady. He confesses that he is fresh from a break-up and needs time to be alone.

The real reason behind the teacher`s confusing behavior soon becomes clear. Back in Prague for a short vacation, he comes out to his parents. It turns out that he has escaped the temptations and disappointments of big city life and has sought out an idyllic refuge in the country. Soon the teacher`s former life catches up as an ex-lover pays a visit to his science lesson. The teacher must face his true identity in his new environment.

Caught in this dilemma, the teacher suffers and soon succumbs to his desires. He attempts to seduce his young student.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
THE COUNTRY TEACHER (in Czechoslovakian, 2009, 113 minutes) is an interesting Czechoslovakian film from a country, I suspect, that is still in its infancy making movies. I admit this is the first Czech film I've ever seen. Certainly hoping it isn't my last, because the Czechs are beautiful people.

To be lightning-brief: a fancy-pants professor from Prague [pronounced "Prazha" in Czech] moves to the country. He eventually inveigles his way into the home of a single mom with one son--they are farmers. While the mom is falling for the new science teacher, the teacher is falling for her son. He is gay and very tired of all the rat-racing of the big city.

Problems certainly visit when the teacher's ex-boyfriend shows up in pursuit. The pursuit does not last long and the film is unpredictable, so I enjoyed that much. The problem is this thing is too bland and frankly pointless. Also I was bothered by the view that a gay man has to molest a young man to be happy--I expected the teacher and the farm kid to form a relationship.

Sigh ... it was too much to expect I suppose. The problem with this film is that it might have worked in the West back in the early 1980s--it is definitely outdated today. While I liked the simple you-are-there approach to the whole thing, as I said, it seems to drift nowhere. Still, it is gay-themed, it is Czech, and for that I admire it greatly. Here's hoping that the Czechs will catch up to modern views and make us some more films.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely fillm, beautiful music
Coming out of the closet story, wonderfully done. Lovely and believable story and characters. I would appreciate any help in finding the wonderful, sad music underscoring much of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by taylorgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Acting, Nice Photography, Good Story, Worth Seeing
Loved the movie. Photography and camerawork is beautiful, acting is tremendous, story is real and gives an interesting insight into rural Czech culture. Read more
Published 11 months ago by hellomynameis
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely film
This is not a fast paced action film. It's subtitled. The plot and characters are richly developed and there's a satisfying ending.
Published 16 months ago by Harriet S. Leveen
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story superbly told
A great story superbly told. The MP3 download xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx
Published 21 months ago by Isidor Saslav
2.0 out of 5 stars boring and slow, not worth watching
This film is not worth watching, as it is not written well, the characters are not well developed, and altogether it does not hold your attention. Read more
Published on May 16, 2012 by Pera Kivi
3.0 out of 5 stars S-L-O-W
"The Country Teacher" is an understated drama about a gay teacher who leaves the big city for a position in a rural school district. Read more
Published on April 9, 2012 by Scadhog
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done, tender, sympathetic
This 2008 Czech film is focused on a gay theme, told in a caring and sympathetic manner. A quiet science teacher, Petr (Pavel Liska) leaves Prague to teach at a rural elementary... Read more
Published on June 14, 2011 by  R I Z Z O 
3.0 out of 5 stars average
another gay film that was not very gay. the main character was rather depressing and not one you would want anyone to emulate. did not live up to the hype i read about it.
Published on November 19, 2010 by xmasrock
4.0 out of 5 stars Would he really risk everything one drunken night?
I enjoyed this film of an intellectual, depressed, introverted gay science teacher in modern-day Czech Republic. Read more
Published on September 21, 2010 by Mary McGreevey
5.0 out of 5 stars Escaping Towards Reality
Bohdan Sláma wrote and directed this sensitive and tender story about public versus private views of sexuality in the Czech Republic: his gifts as an artist of cinema are... Read more
Published on November 10, 2009 by Grady Harp
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