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FESTIVALS Luxemburg

Withering in a frozen greenhouse: the lives of Flower Buds

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- Claustrophobic Flower Buds by Zdeněk Jiráský, which sees a Czech family fight against existential dissatisfaction, was presented last weekend at CinEast 2012

Withering in a frozen greenhouse: the lives of Flower Buds

Luxemburg’s CinEast 2012 had a full programme in store for its last two days. The festival’s penultimate afternoon started with the projection of Flower Buds, Czech Republic’s best film from 2011 and winner of four Czech Lions.

Director Zdeněk Jiráský instantaneously sucks spectators into a grey and decadent Czech city, where the private dramas of a handful of individuals unfold. The city’s railroad, for which the Jarda head of household works, seems to allude to the possibility of a better life. Despite the suggestion, the cast of characters seem reluctant to follow any such a dream. All you need to do to understand this is watch as their miserable daily lives absorbs them into an existence full of hardship where people don’t live: they survive.

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The story revolves around Agata’s unexpected pregnancy. With a poverty stricken family in the background, thanks in part to her father’s addiction to gambling, Agata is desperate to change her circumstances.

Like jumpers made out of steel, the industrial city’s claustrophobic angst engulfs two other characters. Honza, Agata younger brother, becomes desperately infatuated by a prostitute, leading him to spend all the savings he had with a friend in order to have her by his side.

Kamila, the mother, is perhaps the only one who remains optimistic about the family’s future. She works nonstop, with her only break being a fitness lesson. Through this, she is brought to participate in a nude calendar - which name gave the film its title.

Flower Buds, just like its characters’ destiny, is a film that never blossoms. Perhaps it was born rotten. As the film unravels, one gets the feeling that things are only going to get worse, culminating in an ironic show of fireworks, hiding a tragic ending.

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