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Something Like Happiness

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Monika, Tonik and Dasha grew up together in the same housing project on the outskirts of a small industrial city. Now the childhood friends are adults, each struggling with feelings of desire and loneliness, longing and failure. Though none would admit it, each craves something the other has and it's these unspoken longings which bind them in difficult, complex, passionate friendships. Vibrant and deeply affecting, Something Like Happiness is a funny, tender and very human drama of passions and lives half-understood and veering out of control, shadowed by tragedy, shot through with hope. Winner - San Sebastian Int'l Film Festival. Official Selection - New York, Toronto and London Film Festivals. In Czech with English subtitles.

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Review

Official Selection ----New York Film Festival

A richly observed, nicely nuanced portrait of lives in transition. ----The Hollywood Reporter

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tatiana Vilhelmova, Pavel Liska
  • Directors: Bohdan Slama
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Czech
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MD8ZJI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,579 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Love-hate relations among three friends (Monika, Dasha and Tonika) who grew up in an impoverished neighborhood. Three smoke stacks from a nuclear plant are omnipresent in the backdrop, perhaps a symbol of the alienation of the three characters and their dire milieu. Dasha, an emotionally unstable nyphomaniac with 2 kids, is in great need of her friends' help, yet resentfully rejecting them. Tonika is a kind-hearted good for nothing whose undiscovered love for Monika becomes the impetus for a change in his life. Monika is the most finacially secured and emotionally the strongest of the three. However she's finding herself distancing from her highly eligible boyfriend who is pursuing a medical profession in the US. A worsening of Dasha's condition draws us into the plot and a web of their family relations. The movie is superbly directed, each character is fully developed and unpretentious. It's a refreshing surprise. I'd highly recomend it to any mature audience (there is a couple of brief sexual situations in the movie).
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Format: DVD
The acting is first-rate -- Geislerova, Vilhelmova, and Liska shine. Geislerova's performance is electric -- she makes Dasha so vividly disturbing. Vilhelmova and Liska, on the other hand, project subtle yet powerful caring, compassion and depth. I expect that you will see a lot more of this talented trio in the future.

The combined effect of the emotional web that centers on these 3 gifted performers is enhanced by the rest of the superb ensemble cast and increases the believability of the story-line and the setting. The struggles of everyday life among a group of friends, lovers, and relatives in an economically depressed area is so vivid and life-like that viewers from all walks of life will easily relate to them.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the story and the characters develop gradually but relentlessly. Patience in watching this film will be rewarded -- the emotional undertones will grip you and refuse to let go of you.
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Format: DVD
Bohdan Sláma is becoming a director to reckon with and two of his works have made the Film Movement Collection. In Something Like Happiness (Stestí) he creates a compelling small drama about the fact that life catches up with all of us no matter how we try to escape it.

Monika(Tatiana Vilhelmová),Tonik(Pavel Liska)and Dasha(Anna Geislerová) all three friends living in a housing project on the outskirts of a bleak industrial Czech city. Each longs for something that the others have but don't have themseves be it a dream ofva better life, a lover in America or stability. When Dasha has a breakdown and is institutionalized Monika and Tonik adopt her two young children and move onto Tonik's aunt's farm. Along with the new living arrangements come feelings of longing and love that both parties did not realize existed.

The film is beautifully shot and its presentation is fitting for the source material. Like Slama's other offering The Country Teacher this is a small film that is well worth seeking out. The film did extremely well on the festival circuit and garnered several Czech film awards.
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Format: DVD
Let me state upfront that I am a big fan of the Film Movement library of foreign and indie movies, so much so that I finally became a member last year of their DVD-of-the-Month club. But I am still checking out older releases as well, such as this one.

"Something Like Happiness" (2005 release from Czech Republic; 102 min.) brings the story of Monika, a twenty-something young lady. As the movie opens, we see Monika at the airport and we later understand that she just saw off her boyfriend who is leaving for a promising job opportunity (and parallel better life opporunity) in the US (San Fransico, it is later revealed). Monika is desparately wanting to go as well, and she waits to hear from her boyfriend. In the meantime, she hangs out with her friends Tonik (a guy she's known since young childhood) and Dasha, an irresponsible single mother of two young boys, who seems to get worse (and more dangerous) by the day. Will Monika get to the US? What is to become of Dasha and her kids? And where does Tonik fit in in all of this? To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: I knew (purposefully) very little of the plot when I started watching this, and color me surpised as this movie turned into a gritty, somber, yet gripping Czech family drama. We see average people struggling to get by from day to week to month, yet somehow they have to. I am not sure where exactly within the Czech Republic this movie was shot, it looks to be somewhere on the outskirts of a city (Prague?), and the drab scenery is outright depressing. But don't let that fool you. Once the movie has established its main characters, you cannot look away and will want to know how it all plays out. Bottom line, "Something of Happiness" is another worthy addition to the rich Film Movement catalog of foreign and indie movies. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Czech director, Bohdan Slama, has a knack for illuminating truths hidden amidst grim environments and unpretentious characters. His masterful, `The Country Teacher, ` explores the price of escape for a gay teacher hiding from himself, while this film examines the fragility of friendships.

Tonik (Pavel Liska of `Teacher`) is a sensitive soul alienated from his comfortable middle-class family. He squats with his beloved aunt at dilapidated family farm living off odd mechanic work. Together they survive the best they can, eeking out a bare existence with potatoes and goats, and plastic over the roof.

Tonik`s best friend from youth, Monika (the comely, talented, Tatiana Wilhelmova), shares her affections with Tonik and their other friend, the unstable and self-destructive Dasha (the super-talented Ana Geislerova). Whilst Moni waits to follow her boyfriend to the States, she assumes the role of mother for Dasha`s two young boys, unfortunately caught up in their mother`s unpredictable lifestyle.

As Dasha spirals ever downward into ever erratic behavior, Tonik and Moni put aside their own troubles and unite to help their friend. They take control of the boys as Dasha begin to unravel further. Tonik`s submerged feelings for his childhood pal simmer to the surface as both friends decide to `temporarily` raise the boys with Tonik`s aunt as one big, stable family.

Liska`s acting here is impeccable. Tonik`s passive, puppy-dog stares and gentle demeanor mask his true feelings for Moni. Wilhelmova`s Moni is equally well-crafted. Moni struggles to appease a pushy mother who wants her daughter to be in a `better` place where people make `something out of themselves, ` i.e. America.
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