Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

Up and Down 2004

Horem pádem

Directed by Jan Hřebejk

The latest tragicomedy from he director of Cosy Dens and Divided We Fall. "The rollicking social comedy continues the director's interest in adaptability and its discontents, then ups the ante by setting the story in the shape-shifting post-Communist present." — Entertainment Weekly

Czech Republic In Czech, English, German and Russian with English subtitles
108 minutes CinemaScope



Petr Jarchovský
Jan Hrebejk


Jan Malîr


Vladimír Barák


Aleš Brezina


Petr Forman
Emília Vašáryová
Jiri Máchácek
Nataša Burger
Jan Triska


Toronto, Pusan 2004; Sydney 2005


Jan Hrebejk, director of Cosy Dens, Divided We Fall and last year’s Pupendo, brings his sardonic commentary on Czech society into the post-Communist era, mixing up the comic and the dramatic with his usual aplomb. Immigration, adoption and xenophobia are the common themes in Up and Down’s eventually intersecting tales of two families, one poor, the other not. From the very start the set-up is rife with complication. A criminal conviction (soccer-related) prevents a security guard and his infertile wife from adopting, so she buys a baby from smugglers – and begins to pass off a little Indian child as her own. Meanwhile, in a more salubrious part of town, a man who emigrated to Brisbane returns to visit his ailing father, forcing the old professor into a revealing and painfully hilarious reunion with his bitter ex-wife. There are numerous incidental characters, mainly criminal, and the two tales meet catastrophically when the Australian mistakes the security guard for a security threat. Broader in its comic appeal than the earlier films, Up and Down nonetheless packs an emotional punch. It abounds with wonderfully full-bodied characters (particularly the salty divorcee and the good-hearted dolt of a guard), and features a new classic in excruciating dinner-party scenes. While Hrebejk and his frequent collaborator, writer Petr Jarchivsky suggest that racism is inescapable in today’s Prague, their view of cultural diversity in Australia is touchingly golden-hued, as in the cinematography when the film ventures south of the equator, and heads for the beach. — BG