The Empties forms the last part of the trilogy that includes the other legendary movies, The Public School and Kolya. The Public School’s focus is the shaping mind of a child in a post-war, changing rural world. Kolya depicts an independent and individualistic middle-aged man who is suddenly confronted with the challenges of childrearing, and through the relationship with a child learns what he was missing his entire life. Finally, The Empties offers a realistic view of late adulthood and the attempt of a retiring man to hold on to the happy moments of his previous life only to realize that his present and future are what really matters. It is a bittersweet, light combination of pathos and comedy without unnecessary over-sentimentality and good portion of intelligent humor.
Jozef Tkaloun, an elementary school teacher in the contemporary Prague is frustrated with his ordinary, unexciting life, bored with his aging wife Eliska, and annoyed by his disrespectful students. After yet another incident at school when Jozef stops controlling himself and unacceptably punishes a rude student, he decides that it is time to retire and do something more pleasurable and enjoyable in his life. However, he finds himself spending most of his time at home with his retired wife and comforting his heartbroken divorcing daughter. His disappointment grows even bigger when he realizes that his present life is not likely to change and he starts to invent an imaginary world full of provocatively dressed young women, sexual fantasies and moments he would like to relive. In order to enjoy some excitement in his real life, and partly to outrage his wife and daughter, Mr. Tkaloun starts to work as a bike messenger in the center of Prague. He soon has to admit that delivering packages on an old bike, on frozen busy streets full of honking cars might not be the best fit for an older man. Thus, he keeps looking for something else to fill his day with, while ignoring the fact that his desperate need to leave his house hurts his wife and leaves her feeling unwanted, unattractive and old. As a response, Mr. Tkaloun explains his theory about him being a welcoming type of man- the one that enjoys coming home and greeting his wife every day, but in order to do that, first he has to leave and say goodbye. Consequently, he finds a job as an empty bottles collector in a local supermarket and behind his tiny window he discovers a whole new world. He forms new relationships with co-workers and customers, enjoys watching pretty women and fantasizing about them, and most importantly, feels productive, useful and young. Right when he feels that he is finally finding a purpose and happiness in his life, his supervisor advises him to look for a new job because his position will be replaced by new, more productive mechanical bottle collector. Jozef is devastated, but does not give up in his pursuit of excitement. Since his and his wife’s anniversary is approaching, Jozef decides to organize a surprise trip in a balloon. When his wife finds out about his plan, she refuses to join him, but assured that they will be safe with a professional balloon coordinator, she agrees. However, somehow they end up in an ascending balloon all by themselves. Mr. Tkaloun, with accordance with his personality, enjoys the ride and persuades his wife not to worry so much, but she is terrified and angry at him. Finally, when the balloon starts to descend they are both horrified and preparing for the nearly death. In the moment that the balloon lands, they not only find themselves alive, but in a tight, long embrace full of relief and rediscovered love for each other. Mr. Tkaloun realizes that he went to the extremes to find something that was always near him and for the first time feels that his life is perfect exactly the way it is.
The pursuit of happiness, meaning and youth are the central ideas of the movie, but it’s overall message is the importance of what one already has as opposed to what one plans or wants to gain. Jozef Tkaloun, the main character, is almost obsessed with things he wants and can not have which makes him radically change his life, try many different things, hurt his wife and almost lose his life. He is egoistic, somewhat neurotic and not very well adjusted to the late adulthood. His transition to the retirement is very stressful and results in feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, boredom and stagnation. He lacks accomplishments, productivity and generativity, but is determined to use the time he has left and add meaning and depth to his life. It is paradoxical that at this point he discovers that the purpose of life is to appreciate the already familiar people and things surrounding him and find beauty in them instead of searching for new ones.
This movie also demonstrates that human relationships are as complicated as they can be uplifting and helpful in dealing with major role transitions and the challenges associated with the process of aging. Jozef Tkaloun was convinced that the biggest downside of retirement was that all of a sudden he had to spend most of his day with his aging and boring wife, but he learned that precisely this relationship was the best part of his life by providing him with stability, companionship and comfort.
|Referát vhodný pre:||Vysoká škola||Počet A4:||2.8|
|Priemerná známka:||2.95||Rýchle čítanie:||4m 40s|
|Pomalé čítanie:||7m 0s|