Návrat idiota (Return of the Idiot)
Inspired by Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, Saša Gedeon's seriocomic tale of goodness misconstrued seemed to herald a bright future
Starring Pavel Liška, Aňa Geislerová, Tatiana Vilhelmová, Jiří Langmajer
Loosely modeled on Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, Return of the Idiot is a modest but effecting seriocomic tale of goodness, and the human inability to trust in it, that captures some of the spirit if not the scope of its source. Freshly deinstitutionalized František (Liška), seemingly guileless and so naturally empathetic he gets nosebleeds in the presence of unhappiness, visits distant relatives for the holidays and finds himself enmeshed in the complicated amorous affairs of two sisters and two brothers, who are too wrapped up in their own misery to recognize his desperate desire to help them all without hurting any of them.
A film of muted half-tones and nicely unaffected performances, Return of the Idiot skirts sentimentality with a surprisingly hard-bitten take on familial and romantic relationships and an acute awareness of the way people nurture their own hurt. Writer/director Saša Gedeon neatly sketches František's unabashed decency without resorting to wise-fool clichés and artfully evokes his pain (and, by extension, everyone else's blithe disregard for it) in a few jarring but unobtrusive strokes, slow-building an emotional core out of his growing bond with the sullen younger sister (Vilhelmová). It's an admirably controlled piece of work that won Gedeon, then in his late 20s, plaudits as a major emerging talent; oddly, he hasn't made a feature since.
Runtime: 1 Hour, 39 Minutes
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