Based upon the evidence I've seen so far in Toronto -- the Romanian drama The Way I Spent the End of the World and Beauty in Trouble, the very accomplished new feature from Czech director Jan Hrebejk and his frequent collaborator, writer Petr Jarchovský -- the recent resurgence of cinema in Eastern Europe continues unabated. Different in every way from the truly awesome The Way I Spent the End of the World, Beauty in Trouble nevertheless shares with that film a combination of attention to detail and confidence of vision, and is also impressive, albeit in a smaller way.
A complex look at the power and changeability of intimate relationships, Beauty in Trouble comes disguised as a sweet, simple love story. After the devastating Prague floods of August 2002, Jarda (Roman Luknár) and Marcela (Anna Geislerová) find themselves in dire financial straits: Their home suffered severe water damage and, lacking insurance, they have no way to pay for repairs. With two kids, Jarda's mother to feed and the added pressure of unrelenting mortgage payments, they're desperate; to put food on the table Jarda joins a ring of car thieves, and works cutting the cars down into salable parts. Though she knows they need the money, Marcela is unable to handle the fact that her husband is a criminal and leaves him, taking the kids and moving in with her mother and abrasive step-father.