Cosy Dens (1999)



Set in the Prague suburbs over Christmas 1967 and the days leading up to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on 21 August 1968. Sebek is a high-ranking military commander who is fiercely loyal to the Communist regime, whilst Kraus, his neighbour, is a veteran of the resistance and a true Czech patriot. Being a Czech film, one might suppose that the patriot comes out glowingly, whilst the Party man is lampooned. In this film, however, both are made to look equally ridiculous.

Whilst the fathers are locked in their own little worlds - the "cosy dens" of the title - their children try to break out of them. Michal Sebek has a crush on Jindriska Krausova, who in turn is infatuated with Eilen, a boy whose parents have emigrated to America. Their little teenaged triangle remains unresolved, but they at least remain united in their bewilderment at the older generation. Their parents are either fascinated by the latest developments in culinary equipment by plastics scientists from the GDR (former East Germany) or, alternatively, building war memorials to the Czech pilots who died in the Second World War.

Meanwhile, the youngsters are more interested in Mick Jagger and the latest footwear from the West. If just living near each other and seeing their children get on so well wasn't painful enough, a marriage in the family forces the rivals to come even closer together on what should be good terms. Then the sparks really start to fly...