THIS YEAR'S touring Czech That Film series rolls through Portland with a stop at the NW Film Center. Of the four out of six films I was able to watch, Honeymoon (screens Fri June 13) is the best of the batch, a tense and moving drama from Jan Hrebejk (Divided We Fall) that takes place in the Czech countryside during a wedding celebration. A mysterious man crashes the party, ingratiating himself into the family and unnerving the photogenic bride and groom, neither of whom can place him.
Similarly, Like Never Before (Sat June 14) uses the verdant backdrop of a Czech summer to offset its otherwise morbid tale of an artist dying of cancer, as he makes his mistress, ex-lover, and son all miserable. (It's very Czech.) And Colette (Sat June 14) is a Holocaust love story with the romantic setting of a Nazi concentration camp. It's not terrible, but there's a framing device set in 1970s New York City that's laugh-out-loud stupid, and the decision to film in English makes for some very awkward acting.
Kooky (Sat June 14), meanwhile, is a charming stop-motion animation kids' movie about the adventures of a discarded stuffed animal. Its whimsy is reminiscent of Jan Švankmajer's animation, without the attendant political subtext and nightmare imagery.