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The Country Teacher

16 customer reviews

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(Sep 08, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description



Beautifully crafted --Variety

Bracing --Screen Daily

Special Features


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.)
  • 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: #86,767 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bryan A. Pfleeger VINE VOICE on July 11, 2009
Format: DVD
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Travis on August 23, 2009
Format: DVD
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 By bnberthold on 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 10, 2009
Format: DVD
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 formidable. He knows how to tell a story, how to create a fascinating group of characters that with little dialogue speak loudly about human rights and understanding of differences.

THE COUNTRY TEACHER ('Venkovský ucitel') opens with a young teacher from Prague who has joined the faculty of a small country school - an environment completely at odds with the rush and high life of the city. Petr (Pavel Liska) is a quiet, withdrawn, seemingly depressed young man who immediately connects with the students in his Natural History class. The students and community accept this new gift to education in the provinces but wonder why such a fine teacher would leave Prague. Petr finds housing in a curtained room of a meager household and begins his quiet cloistered life away from what seems to be a traumatic escape from his home in Prague. We soon learn that in Prague, Petr had problems with a relationship and his fellow teacher mother cannot understand why Petr cannot find happiness as a normal married male. He confesses to her that he is gay and his mother (and elusive father) begin to understand why Petr 'escaped'. Back in his new country home Petr makes friends with a single mother Marie (Zuzana Bydzovská) who serves as both mother and father to her 17 year old son Lada (Ladislav Sedivý), a funky lad in love with a girlfriend whom he sees as his intellectual superior. Marie hopes to attract Petr but when overtures are ignored she instead engages Petr to tutor Lada. All goes well until Petr's ex partner (Marek Daniel) visits and disrupts the environment of Petr's closeted safe life.
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