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The Country Teacher (2009)—Czech Republic The Country Teacher (2009)—Czech Republic

           Peter Odehnal leaves a prep school in Prague to teach science at a village school in the countryside, but why? Perhaps he's an idealist, wonders his new principal, or maybe he's running from something? About half way through the film we learn that it's the latter. Even his own mother says, "you're always running away" from things. Peter is a fantastic teacher, but he's a fish out of water among the blue collar villagers, not least because he is secretly gay. He befriends an older woman, Mary, her teenage son, Lada, and his girlfriend Bara. Like Peter himself, each of these characters is deeply alone and psychologically isolated for various reasons of family dysfunction. Things get much worse when Peter's former boyfriend visits. This film is way long at 115 minutes, and in the end significant problems are resolved in a superficial manner. But the film carries an important message when Peter's mother advises him: "You shouldn't be alone; loneliness is terrible." The gift of forgiveness to Peter calls him out of his self-imposed aloneness. "Everybody needs somebody," Mary tells him. In Czech with English subtitles.

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