DVD Review: ICE MOTHER (directed by Bohdan Sláma)

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by Dale Reynolds on December 28, 2017

in CD-DVD,Film


One of the Czech Republic’s best directors is Bohdan Sláma, whose latest film, “Ice Mother/Bába z ledu” is now released in the U.S.  The story, written by Sláma, is wry and telling of how age can make us invisible to others unless we make ourselves visible.

Hana (Zuzana Kronerová) is 67, a widow, in retirement with two grown sons who act very young in all the worst ways. Of the two, Ivan (Václav Neužil), in his late 20s perhaps, is the handsomest, but is married to a dreadful snob of a wife, Kateřina (Tatiana Vilhelmová) who is constantly sniffing at Hanna, not sure if their pre-teen son, Ivánek (Daniel Víze), should be with his grandmother. Petr (Marek Daniel), slightly older than his brother and more worn-looking, also ignores his mother, unless he’s stuffing his face at the family Sunday dinner.

But Hana’s life takes an upward swing when she chances upon a group of ice-water swimmers, in which one of them, Broňa, who is close to death from hypothermia, is saved by her and a romance ensues, invigorating her inner life. The two sons and their families are horrified at this intrusion into their ritual, but Broňa (and his flock of chickens he shares his caravan with) makes sure Hana is able to choose her own future away from the cramping non-visions of her selfish sons.

Shot in the winter (very cold, indeed), Sláma’s emphasis on water is, for him, a basic life-giving element, with the ice-swimming immersions a purging ritual. And it must be true, for if anyone survives the swim, they cannot help but have hope for their future.

The countryside and lake are well captured by cinematographer Diviš Marek, and the pace is captured by editor Jan Daňhel. It’s a sweet film, with some terrific acting by the leads and the supporting actors.  It’s also satisfying to see creative artists stand up for the elderly.

photos courtesy of FilmRise

Ice Mother
Barrandov Studios; released by FilmRise
2017 | 106 minutes | not rated
in Czech, with English subtitles
released December 5, 2017
available on VOD and DVD & Blu-ray at Amazon

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