Buko (2022)

Buko (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Buko (2022)
Director: Alice Nellis
Cast: Anna Cónová, Martha Issová, and Martin Kubacák
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Release date: 29 September 2022
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
Language: Czech
Duration: 1h 52m


Buko (2022)


Director Alice Nellis took a break from film for six long years. But now she is coming back and she has turned her love for horses into the story of retired Jarmila (Anna Cónová), who after the death of her husband (Miroslav Krobot) discovers that she has lived most of her life in fear and decides to stand up to him on her old knees. Instead of returning to the city, to which she was always closer than to the village cottage where her husband dragged her, despite the insistence of her daughter (Petra Špalková), she remains in the village and, together with a good-natured neighbor (Martin Kubačák), faces the biggest challenge of her life – an old circus horse named Buko. Her husband bought her this just before he died, even though Jarmila had been afraid of horses all her life. But what at first glance looks like revenge from the grave is a well-thought-out plan to offer Jarmila the chance to stand up for herself at the end of her life, to my children, and all my lifelong fears. And that Jarmila managed to collect a whole lot of them.

Alice Nellis is known for writing the scripts for her films herself. In her first work, Ene Bene (1999), she showed that she is not afraid to go into the depths of people’s souls and bring their dirty laundry to light, which she subsequently honed to perfection in Buko. In her new film, however, she decided to go in a completely different direction and, despite the dramatic-sounding plot, offers the audience an innocent and conflict-free film, in which most of the time we watch the Kladrub horse grazing in the enclosure or walking through the Kokořín forests.

In the film, we find only slight hints of a story, which, after all, is not important, because the film is supposed to affect the viewer like hippotherapy. Otherwise, I can’t explain why Buko is almost two hours long and nothing happens in it, except for one fall from the horse. The leisurely pace of the narrative stops completely when we watch Buk as Jarmila’s entire family, including the grandchildren, gradually takes turns on his back. I believe that was the purpose and effort to offer the viewer an oasis of calm in a sea of ​​societal upheavals, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work as a film.

Don’t get me wrong – Alice Nellis is an experienced filmmaker and with her precision suggests topics, which she then finishes with precisely fitting shots of her “court” cameraman Matěj Cibulka or chiseled dialogues. In this way, everything gradually fits together and smoothly completes the mosaic of slowly developing forgiveness and a new zest for life. But it’s simply not enough for full-length footage. The plot void, imbued with shots of the romantic Czech countryside, would be more suited to the pilot of a TV series on Sunday afternoon than to the long-awaited film of a talented Czech director.

At the same time, the cast is excellent, and especially Anna Cónová (Jarmila) performs her life, for which she claims at least a nomination for the Czech Lion. Especially because he doesn’t disappear from the frame for practically the entire film. Martin Kubačák, Petra Špalková, and Jan Cina work just as naturally. Only the character of Martha Issová in the role of a local librarian afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome sounds slightly abstract, but thanks to her, the film has at least a certain conciliatory touch of social overlap.

When even Jan Ponocný’s music ably helps complete the village melodrama about the idyllic finding of inner strength? Despite the craftmanship and the effort to offer the audience more peace than anger, Buko has nothing else in store as a film apart from its soothing horse magnetism. The truth is that the possible intervention of the dramaturg could transform this targeted celebration of the warm power of the horse’s soul and human age into something completely different, which Alice Nellis did not want to enter this time. If this will be enough for your satisfaction, that’s up to you. The truth is, if I had to recommend a movie to my grandmother, it would probably be Buko rather than BANGER. .

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