By Monica Delgado
Eighty Letters (Osmdesát Dopisú) by Václav Kadrnka is a film set in early eighties socialist Czech Republic under the ex USSR. The filmmaker has made it clear that this is an autobiographical film and it traces the memories of his adolescence, where his mother organized a future encounter with his father, who lived in London as a migrant.
The anecdote is translated through a long day (you can sense the boredom and grief-stricken mood of the journey) in which the son (without a name) misses school to reach his mother, who is heading to the city, maybe Prague, to do some paperwork for the absent father. Together they go to different offices and bureaucratic places in interminable errands, where his mother has to fulfill some papers to be sent to his father along with clothes, sneakers and Czech sausages.
Václav Kadrnka makes an almost minimalistic film, full of close shots, where his camera stops in dead time, reinforcing the slow passing of the hours, with absences and almost always shot from above. We are witness to the steps of the characters’ feet while walking, of the son’s hand stopping a stamp being carried away by the wind, of the suitcase’s travels, containing gifts for father that will be entrusted to an English couple.
The most interesting thing about Eighty Letters is its nostalgic aura, not that of the setting or the greenish and almost sepia photography, but that translated in the rough and attractive vision of the mother figure. A withdrawn and suggestive Oedipus complex.
Director: Václav Kadrnka
Producer: Václav Kadrnka
Script: Ji?í Soukup, Václav Kadrnka
Cinematography: Bra?o Pažitka
Cast: Zuzana Lap?íkova, Martin Pavluš, Gerald Turner, Andrea Miltner, Martin Vrtá?ek, Rostislav Šopík, František B?ezík, Vlastimil Homola, Hana B?ezíkova, Katza Oskar