Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

I Served the King of England

(Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále, Czech Republic, 2006)

Sometimes I see a film and enjoy myself quite a lot … and afterward just don’t know what to say about it. I’m not even sure I understood what it was doing. This one is like that. It concerns a little go-getter in Czechoslovakia in the pre-war years. He aspires to get rich, gets a Nazi girlfriend, there is a war, he gets rich, then the communists make it a crime to be rich and he goes to jail for 15 years. We move back and forth between his youth and his life after his release from prison. He is pretty much apolitical, he never seems to really react to his girl’s Nazism, and the film doesn’t seem to be making much of a political statement, either. It merely observes, and I guess that’s where the fun is. Our little hero is a waiter in fancy restaurants, where he can observe the behavior of the dirty rotten filthy stinking rich. One thing he learns is that if you drop a handful of small change on the floor, billionaires will get down on their knees to gather it in. Which, I guess, is the reason why they’re billionaires and I, who would not bend over to pick up anything less than a Kennedy half, am not. It is lovely to look at, and I had a good time but, like I said, I’d have a hard time telling you just why.