Monday, March 21, 2011
Country Teacher (2008)
Petr (Pavel Liska), the title character of “The Country Teacher,” is a pensive, bespectacled Czech in his 30s who impulsively leaves Prague to take a job teaching natural science in a rural village. Why? It is complicated.
He is gay and not really comfortable with being openly gay. He is also not a one night stand kind of guy, so the Prague gay scene leaves him confused and unhappy. So he leaves the big city and takes a job as a teacher in a small Czech town.
there he is temporarily housed near the school at the farm of Marie (Zuzana Bydzovska), a lean, weatherbeaten woman with a bitter marital history who is bringing up an unruly teenage son, Lada (Ladislav Sedivy). When Marie casually signals her availability to Petr, he gently fends off her advances. She assumes that it is because she is too old for him, and he doesn’t correct her.
Instead, he harbors a secret crush on Marie’s wiry 17-year-old son, who lolls in the hay with his girlfriend in a state of perpetual heat. As Petr’s desire intensifies, he expresses his adoration by tutoring the boy, who responds to his attention and demonstrates a newfound interest in his studies. But he is decidedly straight, and while Petr is unconsciously aware of this, he makes a move anyway, and upsets the tenuously tethered relationship the three have fostered.
Marie and Petr gradually move towards a relationship that recognizes his sexuality, and after much consternation, he reveals it to the school's principal as well. It is the beginning of a new era for him, one that is honest, and where he can make real relationships. All that remains is to obtain Lada's forgiveness--which is a harder sell, but in the end they manage.
This is a wonderful bittersweet journey towards an honest, open, and gratifying life for a gay man.