Road-Movie by Martin Jelinek (Czech Republic)
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival - Tridents First Feature Competition
Name: Marija Skrlec
You make an effort to leave the house. You make an effort to expose yourself to something new. You find yourself outside your comfort zone. And then you back off. Yes, a feeling of complete freedom can be scary for everyone.
The same happened to Jakub - the main character of Road-Movie - when he decided to open himself to the possibility of having meaningful life as seen through the eyes of his childhood love: Ilona.
The two met, after a long time apart, in their small home-town outside Prague where Jakub is visiting his family. He makes his parents proud: he has a degree in economics, a well paid job, and a bright future ahead of him. Close-up shots of Jakub lead us to believe he is missing something: a depth in his life. He is feeling stuck.
Ilona is his only chance. She's a college dropout, lives a simple life, enjoys the small pleasures of life, and acts spontaneously. And so begins their spontaneous unplanned trip.
The formal elements of the road movie genre are followed as they travel from place to place, through Czech Republic and Austria. We see beautiful shots of landscapes and we wander through the streets of Vienna - all scenes were shot on location. They play silly games and have fun reminiscing about old times. They interact with such ease and with a glimpse of true romance. Everything is followed by a light pop-music and Czech's oldies that create a cheerful mood. The viewers are easily taken into the direction of a light comedy movie and casual romance.
Ilona suggests that they go to Venice or even further, but for Jakub that seems too naive. Ilona thinks he's a coward, but he has a perfect excuse: he has to go to work on Monday.
This is the setting that makes it clear that despite the fact they are on a trip their personal perspective on life has only taken a u-turn. Are they just passengers, as their life is passing by them? Is it possible, or even necessary to make a radical turn, and change their direction in life? Society teaches us to put all our obligations first except the one that would lead us towards our happiness. So, if we decide to go somewhere new, the question is: why go at the first place? We will end up home again. Why all the trouble? To Ilona we are all fishermen who lay on the beach - in that case.
Jakub and Ilona are two different personalities who have realized that we can have it all, but the will power is too weak. Conformism may be an easy option, but don't let passivity stop you from seeing this debut film from Czech director Martin Jelinek.