Kawasaki's Rose

Kawasaki's Rose


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Betrayal and denial are bedfellows and guilt is the dark-skinned gentleman in the woodpile. Bad things happen in life and bad things are excused by good people because no one wants to believe that gods are mortal. What of the past? To expose its secrets in the name of truth is both selfish and destructive. And yet to deny acts of betrayal is lying. Isn’t it?

Kawasaki’s Rose covers so much territory, all of which is mined with emotion, that there is a danger of losing the thread of the argument, if, indeed, this is an argument, and becoming lost in the maze. An honoured psychiatrist, working in the field of memory and brain damage, and a Czechoslovakian dissident during the communist occupation is about to receive a Lifetime Achievement award. A film crew is shooting a documentary, during which certain disturbing facts come to light, revealing the possibility that he collaborated with the secret police.

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His son-in-law is working on the film-within-a-film as a sound engineer and cheating on his wife, who might have terminal cancer, with his sexy assistant. A Czech sculptor, now living in Sweden, was once the psychiatrist’s wife’s lover, which may explain why he was tortured and expelled from the country all those year ago.

By nature of the subject matter, certain strands of the story fall away, due to the complexity of relationships and the reason for doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. If the past is another country, exploring it can be a dangerous endeavour, affecting more people than you know.

There is no doubting Jan Hrebejk’s serious intent, or the quality of his filmmaking. The acting is flawless, the cinematography sublime. By using the devise of probing reportage, with in-depth interviews, writer Petr Jarchovsky curtails action in favour of talk. If the intellectual content is so rich in detail, there is a mountain of difference between this and more conventional political thrillers.

Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2010
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Family drama about decades-old betrayal to the communist secret police.
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Director: Jan Hrebejk

Writer: Petr Jarchovský

Starring: Lenka Vlasáková, Milan Mikulcík, Martin Huba, Daniela Kolárová, Antonin Kratochvil, Anna Simonová, Petra Hrebícková, Ladislav Chudík, Ladislav Smocek, Vladimir Kulhavy

Year: 2009

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Czech Republic


EIFF 2010

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