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Year: 2006
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Arrow Film Distributors
Cast: Ivan Barnev, Oldrich Kaiser, Julia Jentsch, Martin Huba, Marian Labuda, Milan Lasica, Josef Abrham, Jiri Labus, Jaromir Dulava, Zuzana Fialova, Rudolf Hrušinský, Pavel Nový, Jaromir Dulava, Šarka Petruželova, Tonya Graves, Jiri Šestak
Director: Jiri Menezel
Countries: Czech Republic / Slovakia
Language: Czech (English subtitles)
USA: 118 mins
UK: 120 mins
USA Rated: R for sexual content and nudity
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong sex, sexualised nudity and one bloody image
USA Release Date: 29 August 2008 (Limited Release - New York and Los Angeles)
UK Release Date: 9 May 2008 (Limited Release)
US Distributor


Jan Dite (Ivan Barnev) is short in height, but high in ambition. To put it bluntly, the young provincial waiter wants to become a millionaire. And he knows just how to do it: by hearing everything, seeing everything, and creating opportunities at every turn.

Armed with this knowledge and an irrepressible wish to please, he soon leaves his first place of employment, a pub, for a luxury brothel and, finally moving onto an elegant Art Nouveau Prague restaurant. But by the late 1930s, things are changing: Hitler has taken the Sudetenland region and is breaking apart Czechoslovakia.

Jan falls in love with Liza (Julia Jentsch), a Sudeten German proud of her Aryan blood. They marry, and soon after Liza is sent to serve on the Polish front, while Jan remains behind to serve as a nurse in a Nazi SS Research Hospital, but when she returns, she has a fortune in rare stamps that Jews had 'left behind' ...

After Liza's less than heroic death, Jan sells the stamps and becomes ... a millionaire. But he only has three years to enjoy his fortune: the new Communist regime puts him behind bars for 15 years, one for each of his millions...

Upon his release from jail, Jan is sent to live in a decrepit border town. Here Jan reflects on the events that have shaped his life - and to reflect on what might have happened if he had played a different role in these events.

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