Monday, June 8, 2009

Bury Me With a Cucumber

Bury Me With a Cucumber

Bury me with a cucumber
and when they ask
Why did you do that? It’s not proper! Say,
She asked for it and who am I
to thwart her final wish?

Why cucumber you know, you grew the best; it will
serve well when I am on my longest trip
across the Sheol waters, lapped by waves,
or lying on hard ground beneath a tree
where even gourds are dry. Wet, cool,
I’ll quench my thirst. I’ll feel your skin,
and when you dream of Egypt, think of me.

Bury me with melons,
and when they say,
Not done, how dare you try
to ruin rituals at this solemn time,
tell them that the seeds will be
as plentiful as stars in ancient skies,
and I will suck on melon seeds
when all that’s left are teeth.
And when you dream of Goshen, think of me.

Bury me with figs and put
an olive on each eyelid,
then when I
am drowsy old in humus with the bones
out of the deep rich soil will grow
a garden full of melons, olives, cucumbers,
and one good day
our grandchildren will sit beneath
the fig tree, scooping cool
and juicy melons,
enjoying cucumbers for you, and me.


I would like to start this introduction by dedicating it to a very dear, close friend whom some of you knew, Marion Ansellem, who died far, far too young one year ago. You may wonder why I am doing this. She moved in so many different circles that you may think of her as French or Moroccan or just a nice ex-scientist lady at Beth Jacob or that kind person who visited the elderly and sick during her very busy schedule as the indispensable assistant to a high-powered banker.
She was, however, from an entirely different background; daughter of survivors whose family mainly perished, she was brought up in Brooklyn speaking Yiddish
and while you may know of her astonishing memory for every popular song ever written,
nothing made her – and our - tears and laughter flow more than singing Yiddish songs.
When I first got this book through the mail a few years ago I was so excited I immediately tried to give it to her, but she had already received it like me from the Yiddish Book Center and the two of us literally plutzed. I’m sure each one of you who has read it has had the same reaction.

It’s over 300 pages of memoirs about saving old Yiddish books, but while reading it, time literally flies. Before the title page there are 4 pages of ecstatic reviews. I’m sure any of you could sit here and talk about this book, but I’ll be good and summarize it anyway.

The writer is Aaron Lansky, the founder and president of the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. He is now in his mid 50’s but he tells a story that begins in his teens The book is masterfully written, in an easy, educated, informative style, with full use of journalistic techniques such as beginning the Foreword with the memorable words of Max Weinreich who escaped Europe and reached America saying he was teaching Yiddish against all odds, “Because Yiddish has magic, it will outwit history.” In fact Lansky presents his mission as an adventure story and that’s the effect it has – a page turner which moves along rapidly but in which the repetitions give nothing but pleasure -- in fact we can’t get enough of them.
He starts the actual account with the description of a typical day rescuing old Yiddish books. He is awoken at midnight in mid-Winter by a desperate phone call to his apartment in Mass, from his ex-teacher in NY who has spotted a Dumpster piled high with books; he has to get up, leave his girlfriend, rush in a broken-down Ford to the train, get to NY, get to the location, this time only in Manhattan on 8th Avenue, meet up with a couple of equally dedicated friends, make his way to the Dumpster (which he gives a capital D), call the company to beg them not to pick up until the evening, rent a U-Haul if they could rustle up the fortune of $350, load 5000 books, many of them soaked, bribe the local garage to let them charge their car battery, put up with uncomprehending rhetorical comments that sounded Yiddish even if they were in New Yorkese, such as “What is this for you kids, some kind of nostalgia trip?” and get to a friend’s apartment where they had to pass the books up to the loft to spread them around to dry. When Aaron finally gets home he has a fever that keeps him in bed for 3 days.
This story is absolutely typical of the urgency he and the young – and in time not so young – people worked with.
His background was English speaking and the family sounds minimally observant. But in 1973 at Hampshire College he attended a course on the Holocaust, taught by several excellent visiting scholars. Aaron became more interested in the live culture of lost European Jewry. His teacher Leonard Gluck said, “these people must have been doing something more for the past 200 years than writing books and getting killed.” This led Aaron to look not so much at Hebrew or Aramaic, or even European languages, as he was not limiting himself – note ‘limiting’ – to Judaic Studies, but to learn Yiddish, the language that was born in the 12th Century ‘on the banks of the Rhine’ and grew by accretions wherever the speakers moved, mainly to the New World of the time… which was Eastern Europe and lands of the Slavs. This amazingly rich language that many doubted was a language, he learned with a demanding teacher, Jules Weinrech, son of Uriel the writer, who plunged his students into Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel Satan in Goray, Der Sotn in Goray. He and his fellow students ploughed through it word by word with an outdated Yiddish dictionary – much had been invented or changed since the dictionary was written – and in two years he felt proficient.

At that point he and the few others were just trying to find books in dwindling library stacks or to order them from old publishers. This became increasingly frustrating as publishers were closing and library stacks dwindling. But Aaron throughout the book shows his enormous respect for his teachers and their wisdom. One day a teacher Jules Piccus said, “If you want Jewish books you’ve got to go to them.” They were as we know from fairly recent history mainly on the Lower East Side, along with the pickle delis and the fading and aging population. It was decrepit but must have been even more so when I reached Manhattan in 1968.
The first booksellers gave them them a taste of the differing reactions. At the first store they were dismissed angrily as ‘shkotzim’ (don’t forget they were raggedy students). The reason the books in such places were preserved, albeit often in high, disordered piles, is because Jews have an inherited awe of the written word. The owner, in this case as well as subsequent ones, despised them but couldn’t throw them away. He finally relented and promised them ‘after yomtov’, but that yomtov never arrived. The second however gave them his father’s collection with blessings, and this was more typical: old people could no longer see to read or possibly had no room to store their books, while the younger generation couldn’t read, understand or relate to them, yet all of them were delighted to pass on their ‘yerusha’ – their inheritance, meaning not just the books but all the culture and memories attached to them. It was as if the ‘yungerln’ were preserving their very lives, giving them some immortality in the face of forgetfulness and the death of a generation.

The book is chock full of history, the history of Jews in the last 130 years, and Yiddish as the main cultural outcome, but also lively descriptions about the group’s hard struggle, with its growing acceptance by individuals, universities and other institutions. It is also brimming with repeated experiences: the yungern would hear about a trove about to be trashed, rush out, meet the owners who before they could even look at the books, sat them down and regaled them at length with their life stories while feeding them so much they finally had to take along a ‘designated eater’ – someone to sit and listen (and eat) while the others sorted and packed. Many of the older people treated them like long-lost children and plied them with stories for hours, not to mention preparing for them fattening food we all still love: gefilte fish, kugel. So as not to offend any of these grandparent-like figures, they even had to pack Alka Selzer in secret. At one point they realized they couldn’t do all the gathering themselves and instituted the ‘zamler’ – throughout America: in small towns and big, someone, often an elderly couple, would persuade their fellow Jews to gather their forgotten books and when they had enough for a package, would send them in to Lansky and his friends – in fact many of these people became close friends themselves. There were some extraordinary contacts, the most notable for me being Aliza Greenblatt, the wife of Woody Guthrie, a free and complicated spirit whose main cause of rejection of the old world was that it was so grubby – so “unaesthetic.” .
Neglect had always come from many sides; the Enlightenment encouraged writers to start publishing – this took several decades to flower – but education for Jews also gradually caused negative attitudes amongst themselves. In Palestine - later Israel - for instance, Yiddish was seen not as dead but as decaying and to be shunned like a debilitating disease. The books however, in nearly all cases couldn’t be dumped; it ran against Jewish nature. Added to this there still exists the anomaly that where Yiddish is spoken as a first language – among the ultra Orthodox communities – the writings are held in contempt and the writers considered apikorsim; books, articles, pamphlets, and even sheet music, were stored as if they might contaminate the spirit and at one point the group had, with the conniving of an astute employee, to steal into a shul basement to rescue a large abandoned pile before the rabbi found out. He did and was furious. He finally told them they had a couple of hours, and then he’d throw them out. Lansky’s disapproval of the Orthodox shows more sorrow than anger, though annoyance and disappointment comes through during the telling of these episodes and I know at least one person in our neighborhood – someone brought up as Modern Orthodox, an English speaking person in their 40’s – who feels as the rabbi does, I’m sad to say.
The second part of the book tells of the Center’s growth, Aaron’s lectures and the reception he gets from audiences; his and his helpers’ visits overseas to rescue whatever was left in places like Cuba, Argentina, or the Soviet Union with Kenneth Turan; the influx of more previously hidden books due to the arrival of free Russians on American soil, the failure of a branch in Israel, his sudden remarkable reception of a coveted and elite McArthur award which gave him money to expand, the move from the old schoolhouse in Amherst to the state of the art Center which took millions to raise, the expansion of Yiddish as a respectable subject and major at many universities, including UCLA this last Sunday, when Ruth Wisse herself spoke at a symposium.
You all have lots to say, I’m sure, so I’ll just remind you now about the magnificent Yiddish Book Center that this once raggedy group has established, in the grounds of Hampshire College. I haven’t been there but it’s sounds like a miracle, a criat ha maysim and I’d like to make a pilgrimage to it! Every month also they send me the Pakn Treger, a wonderful and finely presented magazine not only publicizing the center but teaching history, culture and the Yiddish language.
But who knows if this flowering of interest will ever be accepted by the Yiddish-speaking frum community? And since ‘learning’ – chinuch, Torah, Talmud, what we observant shul-going types consider the raison d’etre of our peoplehood – is based on that - and let’s remind ourselves not even on what we hope are civilized American ethics – who knows how long the interest in the Center and its work will last? I love Yiddish, my ancestors and the feel of the culture but I don’t speak Yiddish to my grandchildren – how long can you keep up an artificial culture without being herded into ghettos?

Anyway….. I loved the book, I’m sure you did too and now I’ll close. The floor is open to you!


THE HOURS By Michael Cunningham
Linda Hepner Jan 06

I was half way through the novel when I suddenly realized I had read it before. This says of course that I read with only half my mind, but it also might imply that as a novel it is not absolutely successful in gripping the reader. The moment I woke up was when I suddenly realized the identity of little Richie, the 3 year old son of Laura. I was suddenly filled with dread and recognized that emotion from my first reading a couple of years ago. At that point I re-read more carefully, and anticipating the end helped to concentrate my mind. I would not say that every detail then gripped me, but I was certainly more alert for clues and developments which allowed me to appreciate the end of the now recognised novel. It also shows how perhaps the writing lacks some impact, does not close the distance between the reader and the characters in spite of the intricacy, vivid descriptions of detail and intellectual challenge.

I am revealing this to you at the start since you have all read the book and I will only now summarize it. I will not summarize it in order of appearance of the characters. I think there is method in my approach. Keep in mind that I believe the novel in spite of its progression through the day is a hypertext. Characters, names,events, place and more powerfully, time, are intermingled. You can see however that I seem to be giving you a biassed opinion from the start. You might take this as a jumping off point in your minds while I am speaking. None of us think of this novel as a thriller or romantic tale, but I still demand of an author that he or she grip our interest fairly early in the story, either with plot or fascinating details or with involvement with the characters. You will make up your own minds.

The Hours is a complex novel following a June day in the lives of 3 women living in different generations but each preparing for some sort of party. At least, it pretends to be three. In fact, it is four, as you will see.
The chapters alternate, switching from one character to the other, but intertwining unexpectedly towards the end.
There is Laura Brown: she is a young, married, pregnant mother living in a Los Angeles suburb in 1949. The war has been over for 4 years and her husband is a good provider. He had been pronounced dead in the Second World War but miraculously returned. Laura was an odd choice of wife, being aloof and bookish. She stays at home in a perfect 1949 house looking after her 3 year old son Richie, who adores her. She is beginning to read “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf and her mind is constantly preoccupied with it. She wonders how a writer like Woolf who puts a glow on the little details of life could kill herself. Her active day consists of preparing a birthday cake for her husband. This is her little party. She and Richie make it together as a delightful project but when he is not looking she rejects it for its amateurish decorations and makes another, carefully. A neighbor, Kitty, then comes in to reveal that she probably has fatal cancer. Laura kisses her on the lips. She then takes Richie to a babysitter and in a state of suicidal alienation drives around in Los Angeles and finally downtown where she checks into an anonymous hotel – to read “Mrs Dalloway”. She does come home in time to pick up Richie and serve her husband the cake. They go to bed without making love: she wants to read. This is the last we find out about her until the very last chapter.

Clarissa Vaughan is a 52 year old book editor and small time author. She lives in Greenwich Village in 1998.
She had been a good looking woman. At 18 she had met Richard, a 19 year old having an affair with a handsome young man, Louis. One moment by the water was all it took for Clarissa and Richard to fall in love. Their involvement lasted all his life, though they lived separately a la Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir with all the sexual freedom of the 1960s to 80s. He identifies her as a sort of Virginia Woolf character and in fact calls her Mrs. Dalloway. She even buys him yellow roses as does Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway in Woolf’s novel. He however is now dying of AIDS. She has a daughter, Julia, concieved as a Test Tube Baby, who is now a teenager. Clarissa lives with her lesbian partner, Sally, a TV interviewer, who loves her deeply. There seems to be little jealousy on the part of any of them except that Louis took himself off years ago and turns up this very day. That evening Richard is to receive the Carruthers Prize for Literature and Clarissa is arranging a party for him. Her day is busy with this, walking around New York and with talking to various people. She visits Richard in the morning with the yellow roses and again in the afternoon, when she finds him sitting on the window ledge; he cannot face the fuss of the party or the pain he will have to endure for the rest of his brief life and he throws himself out of the window. Instead of the party his mother, none other than an aged Laura Brown, flies in from her solitary life in Canada to sit with Clarissa.

Michael Cunningham claims that Virginia Woolf is a fictionalized character in his novel, but we are invited to believe in her. Her June day in 1923 reads like a historical novel and in fact considerable research went into the background. The novel in fact begins with a prologue showing this character the day of her suicide in 1941 even though the June 1923 day, eighteen years earlier, comes in a later chapter. Virginia has been living for 8 years in Hogarth House in a suburb of London, Richmond on Thames, with her husband, the writer and publisher of Hogarth Press, Leonard Woolf. He had taken her there so as to escape her depressions in the bustle and tensions of London – you probably know she was the centre attraction of the famed and intense Bloomsbury Group near the British Museum – but she was aching to return to London. This morning she begins writing her novel about Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway. She places her story on a June day in the life of the middle aged woman preparing for a party in London in 1922, 4 years after World War I. Virginia writes for a few hours, helps her husband and the cook and prepares for a tea party for her sister Vanessa Bell and 3 children. Her sister and family turn up early and she kisses her sister on the lips. She and the children perform a funeral for a dead bird and place yellow roses round its grave. After they leave she walks aimlessly round the town of Richmond and almost catches a train fleeing out of it, thinks about her husband and the novel and decides Mrs. Dalloway will kill herself from depression and boredom. Later in a surge of joie de vivre and positive thinking she decides Clarissa Dalloway will not be the one to die, she loves the details of life too much, but that another person will kill himself instead. This person will have returned from the Great War, suffering hallucinations and mental pain and throw himself down out of a window to avoid being taken away.

The prologue to the novel however begins with the description of Virginia’s suicide, as she jumps into the river 18 years later, one wartime day in 1941. She has written a loving note to her husband but can no longer bear the pain and depression. Her body comes to rest deep under a bridge on which a mother and a little son of three walking are looking at the surface of the water.
The point is made: life goes on and all around people and activities continue, delicately and intimately connected yet unaware.

In spite of these 3 women however there is a 4th character who is only seen as fictional by the main characters yet who both summarizes and influences all the others. This person is none other than the invented character Clarissa Dalloway herself as created by Virginia Woolf. It is as vital to know the Woolf novel as it is to know what happened to Virginia Woolf in reality. In “The Hours” we see her as she is born into the head of Virginia the novelist, with the first famous lines of her novel: “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself…..”

According to Cunningham, these words were the fertilizer for Virginia’s mind, just as the words of her novel “Mrs.Dalloway” inspired Cunningham to write “The Hours”. He paints Virginia’s racing mind as it creates iconic images, characters throbbing with reality, conversations and linkages. In reality they were indeed drawn from her experiences, her emotions, relationships and observations. Also from her pain, which may have been intense migraine, and hallucinations. The book “Mrs. Dalloway” draws us inexorably into Clarissa Dalloway’s train of consciousness – or is it Woolf’s - through the hours of the day, and in fact the working title was originally “The Hours”. We meet all the characters we are going to see in the novel we are reading, Cunningham’s “The Hours”, in their original guise. Every character in Cunningham’s novel is based on Woolf’s and so are the situations, moved to other eras and shifted into other individuals, sometimes just aspects of them, male or female. In Woolf’s novel there is Clarissa herself, middle aged, loving yet alienated from herself in an inchoate way, trying to recreate the joy of a moment of her youth by doing what she does best: bringing people together at her party. This is her creative imperative which she longs to share with other people and makes her so lovable in spite of her superficial life. She leads a golden life of leisure in London, married to Richard, a dependable, loving yet stolid gentleman who loves her. In her past she was loved by a passionate young man, Peter Walsh, who turns up from India the very day of her party. She has a daughter, who is growing up beautifully but is influenced by a disagreeable, inadequate spinster whom she later abandons to return to her mother. She thinks about the past and avoids depression by loving everything about the June day in London. She had one passionate kiss when she was 18, from her girlfriend Sally who then comes unexpectedly to the party, transformed into a successful bourgeoise wife and mother. Meanwhile outside in the London streets she has a doppelganger, Septimus Smith, a sort of Clarissa in photo negative. He had been a poet and is now suffering from post war trauma, with hallucinations. London in June is evil and ugly in his brain. His faithful Italian wife cannot save him from killing himself. He is the sacrificial lamb necessary for Clarissa’s surviving: someone has to suffer the tumult of the war, and she is in a state of Grace, a Christian concept that, without discussing itself, permeates her life since, ultimately, she remains blessed with security and love. We follow the day of Septimus Smith and his wife as we do Clarissa’s while occasionally other characters, such as Peter Walsh, notice them passing by. Only at the party however does the report of his violent and tragic suicide cause a black shudder over Clarissa’s life, like a reminder of her own mortality and the ugliness from which she is sheltered. The event is described by one of the guests, Septimus’ platitudinous doctor, explaining why he has arrived late. It threatens to ruin her party for her but it does cause her to make a small step in her life: she retires alone to sort out her feelings and is then able to zero in on her old love Peter Walsh who has been waiting for this moment all day if not years. A sort of consummation. Her last words are “Here I am at last.”

Laura Brown in Los Angeles, 1949, 4 years after the tumult of W.W.2, identifies with Clarissa. Her bookishness is more real to her than her own, otherwise blessed life. She too has everything going for her, family, security; she does her best however to recreate trouble for herself, sensing the deeper current of alienation within Clarissa and feeling more acutely her own personal non-fulfilment as a wife and mother. She is at the cusp of and the victim of social change for women after the war. She performs acts she does not realise are close to Clarissa’s, such as decorating with yellow roses, driving away from her home as an escape to some inner freedom and reality and kissing her female neighbor, not to mention thinking about suicide. Her son Richie is right in sensing his mother is lost, and in fact his desperate love for her inspired his poetry and indirectly caused his death. But the state of Grace for her is dismal. She lives to an old age, an eccentric against all odds, alone with her books, surviving even the death of her son.

Clarissa Vaughan in New York, 1998, is identified with Clarissa Dalloway by her lover, the bisexual Richard, and superficially she is like her, not only by name and in looks but by her comfortable, relatively superficial social life in New York. She has a teenage daughter, as does Dalloway. The sexual restraints are gone however; women kiss women and men men without a stir. She only stops being “Mrs. Dalloway” when Richard dies and she can become herself, Clarissa Vaughan, again. She too survives, along with her daughter and faithful lover Sally, but the one to kill himself is Richard, to escape the excruciating pain experienced also by Virginia and Septimus Smith. Is Richard here the sacrifice, made for the sins of our own generation with its freedoms so longed for by Mrs. Dalloway and Richard’s unmotherly, absentee Laura Brown?

The female lovers and the kiss – brief moments of true passion - resonate with eachother: Clarissa Dalloway’s friend, Laura’s neighbor, Virginia’s sister Vanessa Bell. In fact Laura kisses Kitty and Kitty is the name of Virginia Woolf’s childhood love Kitty Maxss, though this is not mentioned by Cunningham. I wonder how many resonances we could uncover if we studied the texts and Woolf’s life in greater detail. Laura’s babysitter and Virginia’s cook intimidate. Daughters are independent minded and about to bloom. Life partners are decent and faithful. Colors resonate, above all the color yellow, lighting up the scenes yet signifying a sort of morbid attraction: yellow roses chosen by both Clarissas and even Clarissa Vaughan’s lesbian lover Sally, yellow roses as icing on Laura’s cake, yellow in Virginia’s days too in the roses round the dead bird and in 1941 the sulphur tinge to the sheep in the morning and the surface color of the river in which she drowns herself in the evening. Parties, or rather their preparation, define the day of each woman. The flight from meaninglessness, as with Mrs. Dalloway trying to leave Richmond on a train and Laura driving to the hotel; pain, either from the despair born of meaninglessness or of horror, the jump into the unknown, in Virginia’s case into water, in Septimus’ and Richard’s out of the window. There is scarcely an image, name or aspect of any of the stories that does not foreshadow, echo or interwine.
All is connected, both writers seem to say, but unlike that other author E.M.Forster it is not ‘Only connect’…to exalt life and love and “live in fragments no longer,” because the connections here are fluid and delicate, yet powerful enough to govern our lives throughout the generations like gods or unseen forces of change and destroy us in our superficiality and innocence.

Ultimately it is up to each of us to say whether "The Hours" works on its own merits or whether, for some indefinable reason, as it is for me, the original "Mrs. Dalloway" remains not only the inspiration but the more lasting work of art.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Country Teacher,

A Country Teacher Directed by Bohdan Slama
Review by LRH June 7, 2009

After rebuffing Zuzana, an older widowed farm-woman who has befriended him, brings him bottles of fresh milk and snuggles up to him on a haystack, we find out from an unwelcome visit by a bad-news friend to the village in which he has taken refuge that Petr (Peter) is gay. Until then we are puzzled: has Petr run from his teaching position to the quiet, rural, back ward village because of a failed love affair, a disagreement with his powerful and opinionate mother who teaches with him at a prestigious Prague gymnasium or because of a general sense of failure and mediocrity? The story however is not about his homosexuality as such but about his incapability of connecting and communicating purposefully with those around him, whether in Prague or the village. He is gentle, sensitive, meditative and of a religious yearning that he cannot place or truly believe in. He is never parted from a slim volume of perhaps philosophy or natural history as if it’s a bible. He is, to the surprise of the tough headmaster of his country school, a good teacher, relating nature around him to the human condition. For instance, a snail shell is not the snail – it is an empty shell, yet from it you can tell its history, a paradox the village teens seem to appreciate but which is actually a moral message to his attentive students about himself and other misfits. Bees cooperate but the worker bees are a-sexual and only programmed to serve their queen; during the film we see his father tending his hive on his city balcony and in fact when he finally tells his mother he is gay -- - and she has recovered enough to warn him not to tell his taciturn father – he tells her his father already knows. Bees know their place in their society; surely men should too. This confession was the second – the first was of an exaggerated, flagellatory kind when he tells the exhausted Zuzana that he ‘raped’ her son Lada. The enormity of his sin in his mind and potentially that of the villagers is perhaps why he couches his act as a rape – which was a rapturous love scene when he gazes at Lada and cannot resist caressing his penis as he sleeps. In fact none of this is portrayed as carnal; he himself does not believe in sex without love and he truly loves the son whom he has tried to encourage in promoting self-esteem.
He is welcomed by the rough and usually drunk villagers, flirted with by the ladies; he finds himself a companion to old and young and an increasingly indispensable companion to Zuzana who forgives him his crime; she is as lonely as he, practical and wise. In an effort to redeem himself, he imitates his beloved grandfather and finding the weak vein in the bedrock, brings sweet water into the drying well. When her son returns from an angry, rebellious and ineffective search for his ex-girlfriend, who has abandoned him for a life of hedonism, exuberance and further education at the gymnasium, Zuzana begs him to forgive Petr and together they act as three midwives to a cow lowing painfully as the fragile new life emerges urging maternal care and the milk of human kindness. Petr does not need to sacrifice himself to find redemption: united by a common cause, putting aside hatreds, he becomes one of a family, and we see how country matters can educate us and bring peace to an imperfect mankind.

Written and directed by Bohdan Slama; director of photography, Divis Marek; edited by Jan Danhel; music by Vladimir Godar; production designers, Vaclav Novak and Petr Pistik; produced by Pavel Strnad, Petr Oukropec, Karl Baumgartner and Thanassis Karathanos; released by Film Movement. In Czech, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 53 minutes. This film is not rated.
WITH: Pavel Liska (Teacher), Zuzana Bydzovska (Marie), Ladislav Sedivy (Boy), Marek Daniel (Boyfriend), Tereza Voriskova (Popsie) and Milos Cernousek (School Principal).