Reviewed by: Claire Sawers

Only the very hard of heart could avoid being charmed by this little family, complete with their three 'brats'. You would need to be a child hater or, as is the case in this film, a racist bigot, not to fall in love with them and their affectionate, laidback way of life.

It's tempting to call this 'a slice of idyllic family life', but that might conjure up schmaltzy images of Walton Mountain, or The Little House On The Prairie. In this family home, the boys misbehave, don't listen to their mum and dad and get into trouble at school. The parents also fight, never seem to find time to be alone together and lose their temper with the children.

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Life is far from perfect. Money is tight and their youngest suffers from severe asthma, but, nevertheless, it still manages to look idyllic. Underneath the squabbling and the stress, the parents are understanding, patient and, above all, caring. The three boys, despite their mischievous nature, are actually very sweet, once you stop them fighting over computer games or making jokes about farts and bottoms.

Things are ticking along nicely and the family is going about its business, settling into a new home in the country, when a local man accuses the middle child, Franta, of smashing his car windscreen with a stone. Franta, who is only about six, is terrified and doesn't understand when the old man screams at him that he is nothing but a troublemaking little "black bastard".

As a mixed race family - Franta and his brother Lukas are adopted and of Gypsy origin - the parents then find themselves dealing with vicious racial prejudice from ignorant and unsavoury neighbours.

Focusing on this very normal, likeable and real family, Czech director Zdenek Tyc tackles the serious social issue of racial integration with equal amounts of intelligence, warmth and humour.

It is a touching portrait of one family's ups and downs, featuring scene stealing performances from the "brats".

Reviewed on: 30 Oct 2003
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Racial tension makes life difficult for a Czech family with adopted sons.

Director: Zdenek Tyc

Writer: Tereza Bouckova

Starring: Ondrej Trojan, Petra Spalkova, Lukas Rejsek, Jan Cina, Tomas Klouda

Year: 2002

Runtime: 96 minutes

Country: Czech Republic


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