As the cold air sets in, the flies that refuse to die off are the most annoying – and the most persistent. Olmo Omerzu’s coming-of-age gem dwells on these flies, and his characters’ mix of irritation and respect for their sheer bloodymindedness echoes how his teen protagonists are regarded in a grownup world.
The film opens on skinhead tearaway Mára (Tomáš Mrvík), for reasons unclear, tearing down country roads in a stolen car. Goofy Heduš (Jan František Uher), who longs to run away to the French Foreign Legion but can barely run a few yards, forces himself in on Mára’s escape plan and the pair set off across the Czech Republic on a hare-brained voyage of discovery.
Winter Flies is episodic in nature – one absurd incident follows another, and its teen leads encounter each happenstance with a classically teenage mix of disdain, anxiety, aggression, and derision. It’s very much a boys’ own adventure, and the two’s heroic deeds are consistently undercut by their delightfully puerile sense of humour.
It has plenty in common with the likes of Superbad in its coarseness and vulgarity, but the boys are immensely likeable, and a deep, genuine affection is movingly expressed between the two in the quieter moments, played delicately by Omerzu.
Moments of pathos are threaded throughout, in tender asides to the lives of the grownups of this world, entirely unseen by the boys. Eliška Křenková is especially striking as Bára, who briefly joins the expedition yet still leaves little impression on the teenagers’ joyfully ignorant capering across the country.
An ode to the weird, unspoken intimacy of boyhood friendships and a fat middle finger to adult authority, Winter Flies is a film packed with sheer feeling and wicked immaturity. It has little to teach, but plenty to offer.
CAST: Tomáš Mrvík, Jan František Uher, Eliška Křenková
DIRECTOR: Olmo Omerzu
WRITER: Petr Pýcha
SYNOPSIS: Two mischievous adolescent boys embark on a journey of imaginative misadventure and coming-of-age self-discovery, in Olmo Omerzu’s road-trip comedy celebrating the need to indulge the innocence, impulsiveness, and irrepressibility of youth.