Somewhere Over the Chemtrails (2022)

Somewhere Over the Chemtrails (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Somewhere Over the Chemtrails (2022)
Director: Adam Koloman Rybanský
Cast: Michal Isteník, Miroslav Krobot, Anna Polívková, Vladimír Škultéty, Jiří Vymětal, Martin Šesták, Václav Hrzina and Marek Pospíchal
Genres: Comedy/Drama
Release date: 16 February 2022
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10
Language: Czech
Duration: 1h 27m


Somewhere Over the Chemtrails (2022)


Adam Koloman Rybanský’s full-length debut is also his graduation film at FAMU that in itself is quite unusual, and to make matters worse. The film also premiered at this year’s Berlin festival – under the very catchy title Somewhere Over the Chemtrails.

The subject was originally intended for a short film, but as time went by, the topics got packed, and despite the anecdotal nature of the central plot, it cannot be said that the final narrative would not have stretched an hour and a half of footage. The story takes place during the Easter weekend and follows a young volunteer firefighter, Standa (the excellent Michal Isteník), who is expecting the birth of a child. His best friend is the aging fire chief Broňa (Miroslav Krobot in his typical position, only with an even deeper voice) and together they prepare for the village’s Easter celebrations including fireworks, mass, pom pomázka and, of course, an incalculable amount of beers.

However, Good Friday celebrations are disrupted by a freak accident, during which a van hits the only local Roma. Speculations immediately begin to abound that this is a terrorist attack. While some characters constantly pondering the dangers of chemtrails and immediately believe and others are more healthily reserved. In any case, a bitterly comic carousel of events spins, some of which aptly reflect the growing social fearor while others are on the edge of caricature due to their haste – yet Rybanský and co-screenwriter Lukáš Csicsely manage not to slip into a simplistic mockery of Cechachism as we could see recently in Extraordinary Events .

In general, it can be said that the key characters of this narrative are portrayed quite complexly, ambiguously and colorfully. They prove that radicalization in society is not a matter of a few marginal individuals who “never got a chance”, but that a very understandable fear of family and the future easily slips into heightened nationalism and determining the degree of adequacy of responses to the situation is an almost superhuman task. On the other hand, however, especially the secondary character of Stand’s pregnant wife (in a pleasantly – and unusually – civilian performance by Anna Polívková) acts as an overly contrived voice of reason.

Mainly thanks to her, she turns out that it is more of a social satire using model situations than a mundane story and successfully evoking the impression of realism. With some other characters are gifted with great self-reflection and their development is more dramatic than believable. After all, the film maintains too much of a distance from everyday reality, a perspective and sometimes slips into a theses. However, if we expect more of a satirical farce, the film does not completely satisfy in this respect either – it is neither crackly or funny, nor uncompromisingly shot, nor does it push the viewer to step out of their comfort zone. Unfortunately, even the individual twists are predictable – not half an hour in advance, but a few minutes. So the viewer is constantly one step ahead of the film, which dulls the satirical edge even further.

From the point of view of style, however, Rybanský’s debut fits in more with contemporary festival films, including a slower pace, a well-thought-out mise-en-scène composition and camera movements, and does not try to imitate the new-wave poetics invoked so often. In any case, it is known that this is not a rushed project, but that the script and the possibilities of its transfer to the screen were created with sufficient care.

Volunteer firefighters have not put out fire here for two years and thus represent the defenders of values ​​and order, which have somewhat lost their relevance. This manifests itself most clearly in Easter time, associated with a number of emptied traditions of a religious and folkloric nature. Calmness means having things under control, says Broňa at one point, who is very well aware that he definitely does not have control over the current world – and probably never had, but as a result of a personal tragedy, it hits him harder than ever. Rybanský can capture how dominant social attitudes towards certain topics grow out of the opinions of individuals, often distorted by personal grievances or long-term injustice. In moments of war (even if “only” the cultural one) or imminent danger, the necessary male role is best fulfilled.

Recently, a number of films have appeared about the harmful influence of prejudice or misinformation, which only confirms how important a phenomenon this is. Although the aforementioned Extraordinary Event fell far short of expectations and failed to make sensitive use of the multitude of suggested motives, Prušinovský’s makes a mistakes that thematized the fear of accepting responsibility for life decisions, seemed perhaps too ordinary, interchangeable. Love under the hood dealt best with these themes, patiently offering clues to explain radicalization, and that too in a very entertaining way. Despite the difference in styles, If I’d Rather Be Burning is probably the closest to her, thanks to her empathy towards her folk heroes, which she doesn’t judge, but tries to portray. The main strength of the newness, then, is the disturbing certainty with which wounded, insecure individuals yearning for community recognition become a far greater threat than the risks they ostensibly fight.

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