This is a girl-gets-sent-to-an-institution film from Czechoslovakia. I’ve always been fond of this genre, especially when the place concerned is something of a hell-hole, and there’s a strong element of injustice about...展开it. For example, Anna Geislerová getting sent to an asylum for the retarded in Requiem for a Maiden, even though she’s perfectly normal. Or Madeleine Hinde getting sent to a remand home in School For Unclaimed Girls for stabbing someone in the guts, even though it was only Patrick Mower.
Velké trápení turned out to be a family drama with nothing harrowing about it, but it was still well worth watching. Jana (Renata Masková) is about thirteen, and has to go to an orphanage in the country because she’s between families at the moment. Or something. The story is told in flashbacks and nothing more than an outline can be guessed at.
Why include it in a “surreal” collection? Because it’s beautifully done, with that classic Czech atmosphere of slightly menacing fairy-tale weirdness about it. Jana’s arrival at the orphanage could almost be a visit to the Witch’s Castle. And these dreamy moments happen again and again, even though the story hardly calls for them.