Cutting It Short

1920's. Francin, the manager of a small rural brewery, is married to Marja. The board of the brewery questions his competence, but its members adore his wife and her cooking. Marja is an impulsive, lively yet sensitive woman, while Francin lacks confidence. The arrival of Pepin, Francin's extrovert brother, upsets the smoothly run routine of the brewery. Full of fun and ideas, Pepin is ready to join Marja in the pranks she thinks up adding humorous tricks of his own. While visiting the lady he has always adored, Dr. Gruntorad does draw her attention to the changing world and criticises Marja through for not observing the new trends. Otherwise she would have noticed the general tendency of "shortening" in all spheres of life: distances shortened (by the radio), fashion (by scissors), etc. Soon Marja shortens her long skirt and, with Pepin's assistance, starts on the legs of the furniture. To the barber's horror the beautiful long hair he had looked after for years has to go. Marja's journey home from the barber's shop is one of her moments of triumph. Male admirers are shocked but the ladies envy her daring and initiative. A delicately balanced comedy, Cutting it Short is based on an autobiographical story by Bohumil Hrabal, in this case about his own parents. The trend towards subtle symbolism in Menzel's work culminates here. A Rabelaisian tribute to elan vital, the film however hides a caustic, encoded comment on "goulash socialism", on the Marxist refutation of Freud (the commanding image of the pretty girl sitting on a high chimney), and on various smaller malpractices of "Realsozialismus" such as jamming foreign broadcasts. The nearly subliminal nature of such satirical stabs was a nut too hard for censors to crack and Cutting it Short has proven once more that Jiri Menzel is one of the most talented directors of our times.
Czech Republic
'
2010

Director
Jiri Menzel

Script
Bohumil Hrabal
Jiri Menzel

Cinematography
Jaromir Sofre

Editing
Jiri Brozek

Production
Barrandov Studio

Cast
Frantisek Rehak
Jaromir Hanzlik
Jiri Schmitzer
Magda Vasaryova
Oldrich Vlach
Rudolf Hrusinsky

Music
Jiri Sust

Awards
Golden Cane Vevey
Special Mention Venice

Festivals
7th Festival on Wheels
BEST OF EUROPE