Hádkovi (2022)

Hádkovi (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Hádkovi (2022)
Director: Vojtěch Moravec
Cast: Sandra Nováková, Jakub Prachar and Jitka Cvancarová
Genres: Documentary/Romance
Release date: 14 July 2022
IMDB Rating: 5.7/10
Languages: Czech
Duration: 1h 35m


Hádkovi (2022)


If you read Thomas’s regular reports on domestic sales, you know very well that Czech films are not having an easy time in cinemas this year. It is quite difficult for them to find viewers, regardless of their qualities. Next up is Hádkovi, whose trailers beckoned for a good portion of classic Czech wildly playful. But those who expected a surface broad comedy with popular humor may be pleasantly surprised. After Mothers, Vojtěch Moravec serves us a surprisingly well-functioning satire taking over the imaginary baton from the Owners and letting us peek behind the curtain of a typical Czech family as a social phenomenon where nothing is as it should be.

A death in the family is usually a sad thing. However, when it comes to dividing the property, emotions go aside, because we don’t let ourselves be robbed, do we? At that moment, family relationships begin to strain as if on a tightrope, and ancient grievances surface, all sorts of petty disputes and cruel arguments. And Hádkovi is about you above all. If you’ve ever gotten into a real fight with someone, you may have realized in retrospect how complicated situations arise during arguments and how many shells the conflicts have, with logical arguments running out relatively quickly and being replaced by the unconventional shells of irrationality and improvisation. “I don’t want to argue,” claims Jakub Prachař in one scene, and this sentence should be carved in stone because it will probably be heard in every argument.

Vojtěch Moravec and Sandra Nováková serve us a scenario that could become a textbook on the anatomy of arguments as such. Two married couples, four skinny ancestors of human creatures. A beauty without an intellect (the natural Sandra Nováková), a distinguished slipper (the believable Jakub Prachař), a frightened market woman (the great Jitka Čvančarová), and a silent offender (the classic Hynek Čermák). All the characters are drawn, maybe a little cheesy, but since the prelude is limited to only a few scenes before the heavy cannonry of human intolerance comes in, it doesn’t hurt. Because the film has a damn great measure, and in the crossfire it throws one argument after another in the style of all against all. And when it starts to seem that things can’t escalate any further, the authors shift into a higher gear.

At the same time, the whole plot takes place in a few rooms of a small block of flats, where an almost fabulous battle unfolds, charged with the emotions of desperate little Czech people who want nothing more than a little respect and recognition. And a third of the apartment, of course. Fortunately, the camera copes well with the confined space and looks at the family rampage from very interesting angles with an eye for detail. The paneled tragedy of the every day is served to the viewer as an autopsy of interpersonal relationships, where each argument reveals one social layer of the family’s torso. The realism of the ongoing emotions is also underlined by small details from housing estate life, such as sounds from the neighbors, a bulletin board with a schedule of services, or the very furnishings of the apartment, which the grandfather was looking forward to visiting his grandchildren until recently.

As the absurdity of family misery gradually deepens, the consumption of alcohol and the bloodiness of individual clashes in the alleys of interpersonal relationships also begin to rise. No one takes any napkins anymore, there is no time for consideration, and when even the most pathetic arguments run out (“This is not about the truth at all!”), it’s time for slaps. Everything is accompanied by the ironic musical subtext of Ondřej Gregor Brzobohatý, which, together with the plot, leads to a horrible finale of a mass fight. At the very end, the father, played by Ondřej Pavelka, tries for a kinder face and reconciliation, but his heart-rending speech does not change the nature of the family members. There is no relief, one moves on.

If the film groans somewhere, it is the occasional unnecessary mistakes in the logic of the characters’ behavior and missteps against the sketched characters. To some, it might all seem too absurd and artificially overstated, but I dare say that this is the point – to adjust the mirrors. To show that there is a piece of Argument in each of us.

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