Popularity of Vorel film High School surprises critics


    Tomas Vorel´s new film High School (www.gymplfilm.cz) has grabbed third place among Czech viewers after its first two weeks of screening, surprising some critics.

    The comedy about a bunch of students who like making graffiti and their dull teachers was seen by 160,095 viewers its first 14 days of screening. Only Jan Svěrák´s Empties and Jiří Menzel´s I served the King of England have had quicker starts this year.

    Vorel's film touches upon issues such as the school system, freedom and totalitarian attitudes in the schools, adding to its popularity among students.

    Battling High School in the ratings is Jan Hřebejk´s Teddy Bear, which opened Sept. 6 and has attracted 328,413 viewers in the first month. It is possible that High School will surpass Teddy Bear within the next 14 days.

    By contrast, the Gypsy road movie Roming has attracted 215,840 viewers four months after its premiere, much lower than expected.

    "Film content seems to be more important than we thought," film expert Martin Šmatlák from the Bratislava-based VŠMU (University of Performing Arts) told FNE. "High School is a meaningful film telling much more than a simple story. It tackles the hot issue of the Czech educational system. Roming is just a nice piece but nothing more."

    The most well-attended Czech films to date this year are Empties (1,240,000) and I served the King of England (850,000), both bittersweet comedies which are favoured in the Czech Republic. Vorel´s previous film Skřítek was one of the audience favourites in 2005.