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(aka "Pasti, pasti, pasticky" or "Trap, Trap, Little Trap")

 

directed by Vera Chytilová
Czech Republic 1998

 

After his advertising crude ad campaign for "Back Balls" ("The sweetest suck of all!") gets a rather mixed reception from influential businessman Bach (Milan Lasica, I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND) himself, womanizing photographer Petr (Tomás Hanák, IMMORTAL BELOVED) and school chum/pompous MP Dohnal (Miroslav Donutil) - who is being pressured by Bach to approve the construction of a ring road on protected land - take a spin out into the country and happen upon stranded motorist Lenka (Zuzana Stivínová). When she refuses to siphon - "suck" would be more to the point - petrol out of Petr's sports car, they offer her a lift instead. They drive her into the woods where Petr restrains her while Dohnal rapes her. As they debate whether to dump her or kill her to avoid scandal, Lenka feigns amnesia and asks for a lift home. When she asks them in for a drink, Dohnal accepts the invitation out of convention but also suggests Petr might get a chance to have a go at her; however, veterinarian Lenka drugs the two men and surgically removes their testicles.

While such an outrageous act would be the climax of your typical rape-revenge movie like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, TRAPS - from Czech cinema provocateur Vera Chytilova (DAISIES) - stages Lenka's revenge at only thirty minutes into this two hour film. What follows is an exploration of the traumas suffered by the three "victims". It is a blackly comic role reversal for the two rapists, with Petr unable to escape being ravaged by his many women (including Bach's nymphet daughter [Katerina Hajna] who thinks he is a sensitive soul and wants to marry him when he fails to commit suicide) for whom he cannot get it up, with the bawdy Bach Balls campaign a constant reminder of his lost manhood. Dohnal tries to conceal the the nature of his injury from the public (and the circumstances of it from his wife) amidst whilst enduring sight gags involving eggs, offal, and chainsawed tree branches as well as remarks about eunuchs, castrati, and the throwaway insults like "useless fucker" from his detractors.

Lenka, on the other hand, is still traumatized and now fears retribution from her attackers for her act and to keep her quiet (more so when she learns that Dohnal is an MP). Her boyfriend Michal (Lubos Svoboda) "forgives" her for being raped, but then puts it to strategic advantage with the help of Lenka's reporter friend Anna (Eva Holubová) to blackmail Dohnal into quashing the ring road project. The blackmail makes Dohnal and Petr - who has become engaged to Ingrid and is seeking the help of doctor friend Marek (Karel Roden, ROCKNROLLA) for the wedding night - even more eager to silence Lenka. The ending is as cynical as it is perhaps realistic; and that perceived cynicism and the vulgarity of the subject matter is what turned some critics off from this latter day Chytilova effort, especially Western critics who wanted to label her a feminist.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 16 April 1998 (Czech Republic)

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DVD Review: Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:56:28 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.65:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.27 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.65:1

Edition Details:
 12-page booklet by film critic Carmen Gray

DVD Release Date: March 23rd, 2015
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments

I wouldn't exactly call the digital source for Second Run's dual-layer, anamorphic encode "new" as it is described on the back cover. Presumably Second Run did what they could with the master, but the DVD looks rather soft and waxy (along the lines of a digital master from the early 2000s). Presumably this is the only master, and the Czech release probably looks about the same. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track fares better (there seems to be a short burst of static during the opening sequence, but that might be a stylistic touch given the graphic nature of the shot). The optional English subtitles keep up with the more rapidly spoken passages and are free of errors.

The sole extra is a booklet by writer Carmen Gray who discusses the film in the context of Chytilova's career following DAISIES, censorship from the state-controlled cinema that also prevented her from working and attending international women's film festivals, to her less experimental later works that parodied and subverted the mass appeal comedies of the period (the essay also includes some intriguing insight into the reasons Chytilova rejected the label of feminism).

  - Eric Cotenas

 

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL



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