"Stop playing the fool and start taking life seriously," frets Fanda's wife, Emilie (Stella Zázvorková), who's busy counting coins to pay for their funerals.
Brodsky, a legendary Czech actor making his final film appearance here (he committed suicide last year, after a debilitating stroke), masterfully creates a character from little details; an ever-furrowed brow, a slightly amused twinkle in his dark eyes, an expression both sunny and a bit worried, as if he's making things up as he goes along. Watch him in the background during a scene in a florist's shop; he absently picks up a flower, holds it over his head like a shower, then quizzically to his ear like a phone. This man, we see, makes his own fun.
Director Vladimír Michálek keeps the film moving along neatly, and somewhere along the way pulls off a nifty little prank of his own: He turns "Autumn Spring" into a gentle story of love and kindness. "Good deeds pave the way to heaven," says Fanda, slipping some money (which he can ill afford to lose) under a vase in the home of an ailing friend. And, despite their differences, the bond between Fanda and Emilie is rock-solid; it's clear in the affectionate exasperation in Emilie's gaze, late in the film.
"When I scold him, he says I'm right, and he keeps on doing it," she says, and beneath her nagging tone, you can hear that she likes that just fine.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com