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HOT SUMMER SHADOWS

Czechoslovakia, 1978 (MIFF 1980, Programme 67)

Director: FrantiÅ¡ek Vláčil

Baran is a sheep farmer who lives in an isolated house with his wife and tw children. His only trips away are to a nearby village for shopping. The post-war atmosphere is still tense as troops loyal to the Polish SS led by Bandera (hence their name Banderaites) are trying to make their way to Austria. This is the scene for Hot Summer Shadows.

The setting and the ingredients are those of the classic Western — the reign of terror, the father who is slow to anger, the son who is ashamed of his father's meekness.

After an abrupt start when a mysterious mood prevails and the characters only come slowly into focus, Hot Summer Shadows settles down into a strong narrative drama, suspenseful and intelligently plotted, with enough character conflict to involve its audience without falling into the trap of painting its outlaws as black and villainous caricatures.

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