Nikdy Nejsme Sami (We Are Never Alone)Berlin Film Festival 2016
We Are Never Alone (Nikdy Nejsme Sami), is Czech director Petr Václav’s latest film, a slow-moving and at times darkly comic tale that presents us with a snapshot of village life in the post-communist Republic. It centres around several multi-layered characters, who lead lives of quiet desperation. Each is locked into their own private world of misery, but is also inextricably linked to the others.
We meet Sylva, (Klaudia Dudová) a young emaciated Roma woman who is forced into the seedy world of pole-dancing and prostitution in order to support her daughter while her partner is in jail. She must fight off advances from the local tracksuit-sporting, chain-smoking pimp, (Zdenek Godla), who is constantly lusting after her, despite multiple rejections. He himself must deal with the persistent attention from the village’s grocery store owner Jana, who is trapped into a loveless marriage with a wretched hypochondriac, played by Karel Roden (Hellboy and The Bourne Supremacy).
The highlight of the film is the unlikely friendship between Roden, who spends most of his time wandering the countryside awaiting his untimely death, and an ultra-conservative prison guard, a man deeply paranoid that former inmates are out to kill him. As a result, he brings prison life into his home, each room remaining under lock and key, while his young son gleefully fuels these suspicions with a series of pranks placing animal carcasses on their front lawn.
The gruellingly steady pace and shots of bleak country landscapes accurately capture the excruciating numbness of village life and living on the margins of society, but watching can be a difficult task. The unexplained switches between black and white to colour may leave viewers confused. All in all, We Are Never Alone provides an interesting insight into a quiet world rarely portrayed in cinema, with well-developed characters and several unexpected facets to the plot. But for excitement and action, We Are Never Alone should not be a first choice.
Jayne Rosanna Phillips
We Are Never Alone does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for We Are Never Alone here: