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Czech Republic, 1999 (MIFF 2000, International Panorama)

Director: Sasa Gedeon

"One of the most original and inventive pics out of Central Europe in some time... the cast is impeccable all down the line.''—Variety

Locked inside an asylum for most of his life, Frantisek (the idiot of the title) has never known the outside world. Everyone and everything is new to him upon his release; he feels for everybody and is touched by everything. This innovative Czech film is loosely based on Dostoyevsky's classic novel about a man whose innocence unsettles everyone around him. From the opening scene—the obviously simple young man eyeing a young redhead running for the same train he is boarding, and getting a faceful of yogurt for his trouble—Frantisek lands himself in awkward, funny and stifling situations. He witnesses romantic conflicts, manoeuvring and painful relations; from his unclouded viewpoint he understands people better than they understand themselves. With its uncomplicated themes, Return of the Idiot is discreetly humourous, slightly surreal and peopled by eccentric characters. In a largely mute role, Pavel Liska (Frantisek) is tremendous.

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