The Cow | Chicago Reader

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This 1993 Czech feature by Karel Kachyna (The Ear, The Last Butterfly), set in a remote mountain village around the turn of the century, doesn't entirely work for me, but it's still a film of some beauty and sensibility. A young farmer whose mother is a prostitute sells their cow to pay for morphine shortly before she dies, and the maid, who's also the mistress of a butcher in the valley, gradually insinuates herself into the hero's household. What one tends to carry away from this picture is a sense of hard labor in a beautiful setting; the characters are a bit crudely drawn, but the sense of the milieu lingers. With Radek Holub and Alena Mihulova.

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