Acclaimed Czech director Jiri Menzel has pulled off another successful collaboration with writer Bohumil Hrabal in this light, sometimes saucy farce about two warring hunting factions in a small village and how they end up in a rousing, comic showdown. The village community is made up of a broad spectrum of eccentrics, from the farmer who escorts his goats to pasture in an old Pontiac car, to the sign painters who put up their handiwork slogans in the most unlikely places; there is humor enough for everyone. Then one day three hunters from one faction chase after a boar they found in the woods, and the wounded animal runs into a schoolhouse for refuge. Since the schoolhouse is in neutral territory, it becomes the scene for a reckoning between the two hunting factions. The upshot is a wild time in the local pub — with some unexpected consequences.
This is possibly the kind of film that is unlikely to provoke heated debate or rabid hatred, although I can easily imagine it being dearly loved by many Czechs. I’m not sure if it is possible for a film to be more countrified – from the amazing misty woods surrounding the characters, to the hermit sharing a cocktail in a bowl with one of his goats, this is surely as pure a vision of country life as has ever been committed to celluloid. In fact, the only real plot involves which of two neighbouring villages has the rights to feast on the meat of a wild boar, which is shot in the communal school classroom after a somewhat wacky hunt. That the children seem completely untroubled by this only highlights the rusticity of the whole affair; and most of the adult males appear to be hunters. The villages agree to have a joint feast, but petty squabbling continues throughout: yet no serious violence occurs, or even threatens to. In the end everyone seems united by their shared character and way of life (and possibly some serious drinking). This is mostly a sequence of set pieces, often slightly surreal and even whimsical. But it is very charming, and quite beautiful. There are some good laughs throughout, too. This is a lovely film, imbued with the directors genuine affection for the characters he is portraying, and his obvious love for the gorgeous woodland setting. (IMDB user comment)