Ivan Passer's (Cutter's Way and Creator) last film to be made in his native Czechoslovakia is about friends – musician Petr and music teacher Karel – reunited when Petr returns to town for a performance. Passer frequently collaborated with Milos Forman and the episodic, low-action aesthetic that was evident in Forman's early work can be seen here. Years of separation have bred apprehension between the two men, and Karel's simmering jealousy makes their meeting all the more awkward. Eventually, the barriers crumble enough for the pair to freely discuss their lives. The film's simple beauty is in the details of the men's reacquainting themselves with each other, discovering each other's regrets and unfulfilled desires. Alive with pathos, humour and insight.
Special Award, National Society of Film Critics Awards
Its simple city mouse-country mouse story involves the meeting of two former schoolmates as they prepare for a small-town concert. Enlivened by Passer's flair for grotesquerie, this unassuming masterpiece maintains a delicate balance between hilarity and despair.