Princ Mamánek (2022)

Princ Mamánek (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Princ Mamánek(2022)
Director: Jan Budař
Cast: Borek Belfin, Bolek Polívka and Adam Halas
Genres: Drama/Fairy tale
Release date: 27 October 2022
IMDB Rating: 5.6/10
Language: Czech
Duration: 1h 38m


Princ Mamánek (2022)


Fairy tales for adults are a special category that is very difficult to fall into. It must be a sufficiently fairy-tale subject, the processing of which is, however, built on a mature perception of the world. A significant role is played by the clash of children’s straightforward stories and their archetypes with the world of adults, where non-negotiable laws of reality prevail. Jan Budař (apparently) attempted something like this in his directorial debut based on the motives of his book, according to which he wrote the script himself. And composed the music. And you produced the whole thing. Just from the efforts that Budař made to create this film, one can read a great dedication to the chosen subject. But was it enough for a good movie?

You probably already guessed that the answer will be somewhere in the middle. Princ Mamánek tries hard to play both sides. It is a mature enough story about an elderly spoiled prince who has to undergo a painful journey to find himself, and at the same time bring a fair portion of Czech fairytale entertainment for children. And unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well. The story that wisdom can be found at any age is a sufficiently universal and grateful theme, but the zigzagging between adult motives and childish naivety will tire the story’s feet.

An introduction in which Prince Ludvík Otomar Karel XII. is introduced to us. born Noble, it works excellently and Budař fully launches his creations in it. Prince Ludvík is wonderfully unbearable in his performance and together with his mother the queen (Jana “Arabela” Nagyová) performs an extreme version of the hotel’s mother. And adults have fun. Subsequently, the king (Martin Huba) enters Ludvík’s peaceful life and decides to turn the prince into a man. He has him drugged, wrapped in a rug, and carried deep into the forest, not to return until he meets death. Yes, with death. The only connection with the royal court is represented by the animal knight Hudroval, who prefers to fight and drink (in any order). Ondřej Vetchý took on the role of a mercenary worn out by life with unexpected bravado, and for a while steals the film just for himself.

From a well-paced story, where a mismatched couple lures you on a proper adult ride in the style of Prince and the Prudential, Budař suddenly switches to a children’s position, when two chattering and sniggering witches stand in the way of the protagonists, so that (apparently) even the little ones will laugh. Unfortunately, their intermezzo has an inappropriate, even “slightly” impression and slightly cools expectations, however, as soon as the central duo (expanded by Veronika Khek Kubařová) gets rid of them, Budař switches again. Not, of course, back to comedy for an older target audience, but to a strange philosophizing about the meaning of life and death, during which very disturbing things happen, such as meeting the undead hangman (Vladimir Javorský), the gravedigger Hrouda (Bolek Polívka) and Mrs. Death herself. At the same time, we will see some strange wisecracks, such as when Prince Ludva declares, that death is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. What?

So who is Prince Mamanek intended for? Not for children, although they can also appreciate certain moments – the set, led by the costumes, is appropriately fairy-tale, but not cheesy, as is the appropriate choice of filming locations. But that will probably be all, and as soon as outright horror motifs (tree wizard, undead hangman, death) come into play, less hardened children will flee the theaters. But by then you will be raising your eyebrows too, because things will start happening that are neither fun nor interesting. The entire final act is one big WTF, as is the character of the gravedigger Bolek Polívka, who first plays the role of a narrator endowed with a certain melancholic and even quixotic charge, to finally function as an incomprehensible deus ex machina and the mastermind of an absurd idea to help Ludvík in his task.

And it’s a damn shame because as a fairy tale for adults without much ambition, it could have worked an order of magnitude better than as a widespread and slightly limping combination of everything together. And it freezes all the more when you compare the promising beginning and the incomprehensible ending. Jan Budař’s efforts certainly cannot be denied and he certainly does not fail in the acting position. Maybe he should have made it more clear who Prince Mama is for. And stand firmly behind it. I’m sure most parents would appreciate a mature anti-fairy tale that hits on the eternal themes of youth and adulthood more than another cunning witch.

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