Introspective Adam and livewire Marek are trying to make sense of who they are while seeking an escape from the hostile world that surrounds them. They are eventually snatched from their empty, humdrum existence by Anna, the self-assured daughter of a local mafia boss. She introduces the young men to an adult world filled with the kind of challenges they would only have confronted in their nightmares. The film’s director boldly cast relative newcomers in the main roles, whose energy and teamwork render Places an exceptional piece. While Špaček chose to experiment in front of the camera, behind it he worked with the tried and tested crew from his previous drama Walking Too Fast. Although the characters and the period differ from his last picture, Špaček’s authorial imprint is still very much in evidence. Both films work on the individuals’ desire to break away, in this case, particularly from their native soil, from their family and its legacy, and ultimately from their own weaknesses. (KVIFF)
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