A bitter-sweet observation in the Czech tradition of a small rural community. Well observed, sometimes grotesque, sometimes touching, often ironic, it focuses on the young inhabitants, their dreams and secret loves.
Self confidently, Wild Bees is reminiscent of a cinema from the past: the Czech New Wave from the Sixties that provided such beautiful bittersweet films about life in the countryside and village communities. Grotesque details and ironic observations about villagers who seem so far from modern life in a certain way, are presented by the filmmaker with a deep affection for their characters, their secret loves, their long drawn out conflicts and also their quiet despair that they will never escape from their provincial surroundings.In a remote village in Northern Moravia, far removed from the rest of the world and its revolutions, life swings between doing nothing and going to the bar. After forty years of communism, all that is left is a half collapsed church and neglected agricultural land. The villagers can only combat their helplessness with humour and look forward to the event of the year: the firemen’s ball. Kaja, the son of the self appointed village philosopher, is a shy and simple woodcutter who has an eye on Bozka, the girl who works in the village kiosk. Unfortunately she has got something going with Lada, the local dandy and Michael Jackson imitator. Of course Kaja can’t compete with that. Then his brother returns unexpectedly to the village and the firemen’s ball starts. Next morning, everything will be different. Or won’t it? –IFFR
Bohdan Sláma (b. 1967, Opava, Czechoslovakia) is one of the Czech Republic’s most successful post-revolution directors. He graduated from Prague’s FAMU with the film White Acacias (Akáty bílé, 1996), and he now works externally at the school as a teacher. His film The Wild Bees (Divoké včely, 2001) won the Rotterdam and San Francisco festivals. A year later he filmed a segment of the story showcase Radhošť. Something Like Happiness (Štěstí, 2005) won the main prize at San Sebastian and brought Sláma Czech Lion awards for Best Film and Direction. The Country Teacher (Venkovský učitel, 2008) was screened at the Venice IFF in its international premiere, and Sláma was included on Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” list. The spiritual drama Four Suns is the first Czech film to compete at Sundance. —KVIFF