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Foreign Comedy - Czechoslovakia - I Served the King of England

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I Served the King of England / Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále
Ivan Barnev, Oldrick Kaiser, Julia Jentsch
Directed by jiri Mentzel
Czech with English / French subtitles
Slovakia 2006
Sony Pictures Classics 2009
120 minutes

I Served the King of England / Obsluhoval jsem anglického krale is a very quirky foreign film comedy DVD. I Served the King of England is whimsical, clever, funny, and often cinematic in its references. This comedy is about the many adventures of clever and innocent looking Jan Dite (Ivan Barney / Oldrick Kaiser). Even if you are into foreign film comedies, you have not seen anything quite like this DVD.

The first thing a viewer realizes about I Served the King of England / Obsluhoval jsem anglického krale is time is a very flexible concept so scenes with the young Jan (Barney) can follow or precede scenes featuring the older Jan (Kaiser). The film begins with the older Jan being let out of jail, having his 15-year sentence commuted after 14 years, nine months. The movie then flashes back in an excellent silent-movie scene to Jan’s first job at the railway station and his desire to become a millionaire. It then follows Jan’s life in the past and in the present as he pursues that desire.

Jan’s desire to be rich and what he does to achieve that is what this foreign film comedy is about. You follow him as his job as waiter takes him to fancier and fancier hotels for richer and richer people from whom he learns a lot. His fortunes greatly improve when Germany invades Czechoslovaquia and he marries a good German girl. This does not mean he abandons his habit of tossing his small change away to see which rich person will bend down to pick it up.

This film features a great variety of cinematic genres. Aside from the silent movie bit, there is an absolutely gorgeous supper scene where a girl twirls around on a table while rich men feast on food and her beauty. The Ethiopian feast is also wonderfully shown.

It is not easy to figure out what exactly this foreign comedy DVD is supposed to mean until the very end but it certainly is an exquisite, fun to watch movie.

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