The Cow

on February 22, 1995 by Pat Kramer
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   At first glance, one may wonder why Czech director Karel Kachyna chose to make this 1993 film. What was so important about the life of a man, referred to as "the lowest of the low," living in a remote mountain village of Czechoslovakia? The main character, Adam, is a prostitute's simple-minded son (Radek Holub) who sells his precious cow to pay for his dying mother's morphine. After her death, further despair and abject poverty take hold as Adam struggles to survive in his terribly cruel existence.
   However, what starts out as something akin to film noir gradually takes on a different life with the arrival of Rosa (Alena Mihulova), a young prostitute who takes pity on Adam. Her introduction into his world and their ensuing struggles awaken the young man's spirit. Although audiences might find the film's bleakness to be often overpowering, Kachyna always manages to allow a fragile thread of hope to survive.    Starring Radek Holub and Alena Mihulova. Directed by Karel Kachyna. Written by Karel Cabradek and Karel Kachyna. Produced by Karel Skop. A Cinema Parallel release. Drama. Czech-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 86 min.
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