I Served the King of England
Ivan Barnev, Oldrich Kaiser, Julia Jentsch, Milan Lasica, Zuzana Fialová, Martin Huba, Marián Labuda, Josef Abrhám / Fiction / Czech
A lavishly indulgent paean to food, flesh and fierce ambition.
Following a long prison sentence, Jan Díte looks back over an eventful life, which has seen him elevate himself from humble waiter to Nazi bridegroom to millionaire criminal. One of the most ambitious and expensive Czech films of all time, this historical epic is the long-awaited result of a protracted struggle for the screen rights to Bohumil Hrabal's famed novel. Jirí Menzel's adaptation is his fourth to be drawn from Hrabal's work (including the superb Closely Observed Trains). Combining sheer visual excess with sardonic commentary upon European mores in the first half of the 20th century, I Served the King of England proves worth the wait. It's a beautifully performed and designed film, shaded with irony and festooned with moments of delightful physical comedy.
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