Winter Flies

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Winter Flies
"There's a refreshing lack of sentimentality in the way Omerzu captures his duo of protagonists." | Photo: Courtesy of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

The kids go on a road trip coming-of-age movie knows no borders, with recent additions hailing from America (Cop Car) and Germany (Goodbye Berlin). Now Olmo Omerzu, who previously took a dive into the world of Czech teenagers left alone in Family Film, steps on the gas to observe how the same age group fare when they decide to leave the world behind instead.

This time, writing duties fall to Petr Pýcha, but as with Family Film, there's a refreshing lack of sentimentality in the way the script and Omerzu capture his duo of protagonists - the wiry, skinheaded street smart but slightly world-weary Mara (Tomáš Mrvík) and the younger, pudgy but permanently positive Hedus (Jan František Uher). Why they decide to take off is never fully explained - and this realistic sense of kids doing things on a whim or for the hell of it runs through the film, which is partly told in flashback after Mara finds himself in a police station being grilled by a less-than-sympathetic officer (Lenka Vlasakova).

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As he recounts his adventures with Hedus, including the acquisition of a dog and heady (at least in their heads) encounter with a female hitchhiker (Eliska Krenkova) we see how he Mara spins the stories to best effect. Interestingly, he doesn't just amp up his sexual exploits but downplays his part in the dog rescue. Mrvík and Uher prove a charming double-act , with their bonding unforced and believable. Newcomer Mrvík shows particular talent, turning on a dime from being hard-bitten and borderline adult to a much more vulnerable teen as required. In a move likely to endear it further to viewers of the same age as the boys, all the adults are presented in a less than flattering light.

Less structurally complex than Family Film and more reticent in terms of a firm conclusion, there is still plenty to enjoy here, not least in the inclusion of those flies of the title, seen flitting about despite the cold, with one even making a Lazarus-like recovery - each moment cleverly intercut with part of Mara's story. These lads, like the flies, might only be buzzing in a circle, but, by God, they put their energy into it - and you can't do anything but admire them for that.

Reviewed on: 01 Aug 2018
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Winter Flies packshot
Mischievously self-assured Mára and somewhat eccentric Heduš set out into the frozen wastes in search of adventure – by car, naturally. After all, Mára's turning 15 soon.

Director: Olmo Omerzu

Writer: Petr Pýcha

Starring: Tomás Mrvík, Jan Frantisek Uher, Eliska Krenková, Lenka Vlasáková, Martin Pechlát, Tomás Mrvík, Jan Frantisek Uher, Eliska Krenková, Lenka Vlasáková, Martin Pechlát

Year: 2018

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia


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If you like this, try:

Family Film
Goodbye Berlin