New Czech film Up and Down hits cinemas around the country

15-10-2004

The creators of Up and Down are no to strangers to the film industry, in fact they are very well known: the duo of director Jan Hrebejk & screenwriter Petr Jarchovsky already have a good number of films behind them. Internationally the most successful was probably "Divided We Fall" - a tragicomic story about a family hiding a Jewish man in their flat in Nazi-occupied Bohemia.

Up and DownUp and Down Up and Down combines several story lines in one. It is an entanglement of different stories about losing and finding love, friendship, or family. In a tragicomic way it touches sensitive issues of our current world like xenophobia or football hooliganism.

The author of the screenplay Petr Jarchovsky admits that racism is one of the film's major topics but he refuses the idea of film as being little more than social analysis.

"I have to stress at the end of the day it's still a feature film - telling a story. It's not a sociological study about minorities or migration or these sorts of problems. It just tells a story of particular people we made up. I hope it's attractive for the viewer and that it is able to affect or excite him or her in some way. In my work I never set-out to film a subject per se like shooting a film against war or about the Holocaust. It just happens that I find a story about characters set in a certain time period against a certain backdrop, with its own specific problems that then come to the forefront."

The film will strike you with strong contrasts and transitions between comedy and tragedy. Its director Jan Hrebejk admits it's no coincidence.

Up and Down, Jan Hrebejk and Petr Jarchovsky are in the rearUp and Down, Jan Hrebejk and Petr Jarchovsky are in the rear "It is already sort of our rule. We've always wanted to express certain tragic or comic moments, some noble, others rather sordid. This principal of paradoxes, or 'juxtapositions', has always been our guideline. Not only my colleague Petr works that way as a writer; even I do as a director. For example when in "Divided We Fall" we had a tragic scene, I directed it as a comedy, and vice-versa. Things just turn out like that because it's the same in life that a grotesque component mixes with tragic situations, and on the contrary; a situation which is generally joyful has its tragic dimension."

While watching the film there are many moments when you aren't sure whether to laugh or cry. Mixed emotions might be the consequence. But if you like surprises don't hesitate and go to see it!

15-10-2004