I Served the King of England Jiri Manzel

I Served the King of England Jiri Manzel
Jiri Manzel, the man who subverted social structures of the Eastern Bloc back in the '60s with ethical analyses and satires, is back with yet another sly criticism of ideological hypocrisy and the upper class. Here, his derision is shown through the eyes of a guileless protagonist, whose tendency to go with the flow carries him through an absurdist view of Czech history during WWII. Irreverent sensibility and overall whimsy keep the film afloat for the duration but I Served the King of England ultimately succumbs to the weight of its ambitions, throwing in too many events, ideas and political jabs at Nazi occupation and communism to gel entirely. This political allegory is told through the exploits of Jan Dite (Ivan Barnev/Oldrich Kaiser), from his youth through to his release from prison in his later years. In the middle of this, Jan works his way up, almost effortlessly, as a waiter for increasingly elite Czech officials, which awards him some of the finer things in life. When Germans begin to occupy Czech territory, Jan comes to the aid of a German schoolteacher named Liza (Julia Jentsch), as she is harassed in the streets. Having some German blood, Jan proves worthy of Liza's purebred standards and winds up living the high life as the Nazi's take over. This, as we all know, comes crumbling down after the war when communism takes over and Nazi supporters are deemed criminal. Some incisive juxtaposition, such as replacing the frolicking, nude, purebred Nazi ladies with brutally wounded soldiers, make this ultimately flawed romp worthwhile. The DVD presentation comes with no special features aside from a trailer. (Mongrel Media)