What does the IDM team recommend you to watch during the holidays?
Comedy or crime? Heartless gangsters or mischievous angels? And have you ever seen a fully painted animated film? With long evenings and chilly temperatures outside, the holiday season offers a perfect opportunity to watch movies, be it at home or in cinemas. How about exploring cinematic productions from Central Europe and the Danube Region? Our team has prepared some suggestions for what to watch next time you have a chance!
Sebastian Schäffer, Director
Set during the height of the Cold War, the series follows the fictional character Victor Godeanu, who is one of the closest advisors to Nicolae Ceaușescu. As a double agent for the KGB he is looking for a possibility to escape Romania before his cover is blown. During a diplomatic trip to Germany, trying to “sell” dissidents to the Federal Republic, Godeanu uses the opportunity to defect to the United States. Find out if he can also get his family out of danger within the web of undercover and other agents from the Stasi, CIA, KGB, as well as Securitate.
Peter Techet, Research Associate
Magyarázat Mindenre (Explanation for Everything) (HU / SK, Gábor Reisz, 2023)
In this Hungarian-Slovak film, directed by Gábor Reisz, the ongoing “cold civil war” in Hungary is depicted through a trivial conflict. When he wears a national symbol on his suit during his school leaving exams, a student finds himself caught between his nationalist-conservative family and his more liberal teachers and classmates – even though he fails the exam simply because he cannot answer the questions. The film illustrates the misunderstandings underlying the “cold civil war” in Hungary: a perceptive but sad portrait of a society where every conflict immediately takes on a political dimension.
Rebecca Thorne, Research Associate
Moje slunce Mad (My sunny Maad)
After attending university in Prague, Helena marries her beloved Nazir and moves with him to his relatives in Afghanistan, where she looks forward to joining a large family. However, life in Kabul isn’t easy for the young Czech woman. This award-winning animated film portrays a nuanced portrait of society in Afghanistan before the Taliban’s return to power.
Directed by Michaela Pavlátová.
Malwina Talik, Research Associate
Chłopi (The Peasants)
“The Peasants,” a visually striking animated film, fully painted by over a hundred artists, brings to life the late 19th-century Polish countryside. Adapted from a Nobel Prize-winning novel of the same title, it portrays the mentality, customs, and hierarchies of that era’s villages. The storyline follows a dreamy young woman navigating the strict norms of her local community, risking ostracism as she does not follow traditional expectations.
Daniel Martínek, Research Associate
Anděl Páně (Angel of the Lord)
The film revolves around the character of Adam, a mischievous angel, who is sent to Earth to help a struggling family during Christmas. Filled with humour, fantasy, and heartwarming moments, the film explores themes of goodwill, love, and the true meaning of Christmas. Building on the conviction that genuine love and generosity can bring about positive change, the movie emphasizes the transformative power of kindness and the importance of family bonds.
Kinga Brudzinska, Research Associate
Dzień Matki (Mother’s Day)
Nina, a former secret agent from NATO Special Operations, must use her training to rescue her kidnapped son from gangsters. Finding Max is not only an opportunity for Nina to experience excitement again but also a chance to bring her son back to a life they both deserve.
Directed by Mateusz Rakowicz
Kamila Bogdanova, Trainee
Crna mačka beli mačor (Black Cat, White Cat)
Black Cat, White Cat is a 1998 Serbian romantic comedy, one of the most well-known films by Emir Kusturica. It won the Silver Lion for Best Direction at the Venice Film Festival. The cinematography is visually striking, capturing the picturesque landscapes along the Danube and the dynamic energy of the characters. Kusturica’s ability to infuse the narrative with the spirit of the Romani culture adds a layer of authenticity, making the film a cultural experience in itself.
Sophia Beiter, Research Associate
Obchod na korze (The Shop on Main Street) (1965)
This Oscar-winning Czechoslovakian film from 1965 is about Aryanisation in the Slovak state during World War II. Tono takes over the shop of the Jewish widow Rozalia. However, Rozalia, already old and confused, thinks Tono is just looking for a job and hires him as her assistant. What starts with comedy-like scenes slowly turns into a dire tragedy. The film painfully reveals the human psyche in situations where moral responsibility, passivity, betrayal and murder are just a few thoughts away from each other.
Darija Benić, Former Trainee
Deca zla (Children of Evil)
A masked perpetrator murders a prominent politician and leaves an old, golden coin in his hand. Nikola Bobic, a defence attorney, reluctantly takes the case and plunges into a dangerous game that will change his life forever. The series was based on the bestselling book by judge Miodrag Majić and it’s the first Serbian series to be broadcast on the HBO Max streaming service. The reviews are mixed, with many saying they had never seen anything better, while some are offended by the wounds of the past that the series digs up.