Flower Buds / Poupata (Czech Republic, 2011)

directed by Zdeněk Jiráský, social drama, 94 min, eng subtitles
written by Zdeněk Jiráský
with Vladimír Javorský, Malgorzata Pikus, Marika Šoposká

Jarda works for the railway, passing the time constructing models out of matches and glue. When he is not at work he is with his wife Kamila or at the pub where the owner serves him fine repasts at the slot machines. Their daughter longs to see the world, while their son pins his hopes on unbounded love. Will they ever fulfill their dreams when everyday life throws them so many curveballs? Set during the Christmas season, the film does not spare its protagonists, and despite portraying the adult characters as reconciled to their fate, it willingly demonstrates that things can get worse. This sensitive social drama is backed up with strong acting performances and a crisply evoked environment where, lacking options, the characters take shelter in their own worlds and dreams because the world outside bodes nothing good. Although there is nothing wrong with getting drunk while dressed up as St. Nicholas (since there's no better prospect after you wake up than to head for the pub), it's about time to start worrying about the future. Flower Buds tells the story of the gradual breakdown of a family living in a grey industrial town.

Czech Lions 2011 (Best Film, Director, Cinematography and Actor in a Leading Role)
Czech Critics Award 2011 (Best Cinematography and Actor in a Leading Role)