Full Screen 4×3

Czech DTS 5.0, DD 5.1, and DD 2.0

Subtitles: English









The mid-1980s were an exciting time for me when I was a kid.  Even though my parents always took me to foreign films even before I could read, these films didn’t start making total sense until I could finally keep up with the English subtitles at around the age of nine or so. From then on, the foreign movies I saw in the mid-80s probably stuck with me the longest – My Life As A Dog, Babette’s Feast, Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring, Tampopo, and My Sweet Little Village.

Jiri Menzel’s My Sweet Little Village (aka Vesnicko má stredisková) was nominated for Best Foreign Film in 1987 but lost to The Assault (never heard of it). Also in contention that year was Betty Blue, The Decline of the American Empire, and ’38. My Sweet Little Village is one of the best Czech movies ever made. It’s one of those films you picture when you think of a typical Eastern European foreign film. I don’t want to tell the story about all the wonderful characters in this film, but My Sweet Little Village is about a Czech village with colorful characters all having highly entertaining interwoven stories.

As far as I know, the Czech DVD is the only existing DVD of this film. Since this is the only DVD available, as well as including English subtitles, I’m pretty happy with the overall quality of this DVD. The Full Screen video quality is a mixed bag. It ranges from very clean and sharp to scratchy scenes that cry out for a digital restoration. The DVD surprisingly offers three audio options – DD 2.0, DD 5.1 and DTS 5.0. I watched the movie with the DTS option which was very impressive for this kind of old film. The music especially sounds immersive and the dialogue sounds solid. The DD 5.1 was good too, it’s just that the DTS is louder and mixed better. I was definitely impressed more with the audio quality than the video quality. The most disappointing element of the DVD is the sloppy English subtitles. It’s riddled with bizarre translations and spelling mistakes but, unlike the sloppy English subtitles found on many Hong Kong and Indian videos, the problematic English subtitles on this DVD were good enough and any witty elements in the screenplay thankfully did not get lost in the translation. It’s also really funny that the Czech translator got her name acknowledged during the beginning credits. I’m not too sure they really want to advertise her translation services! The non-subtitled extras on the DVD are some interviews, a trailer, filmographies, photos, and information of other available Czech DVDs. Please note that this version is a special edition Czech DVD. There was a previous Czech DVD of this film but it only had DD 2.0 audio. I’m not sure if the image quality differs between the two, but the main difference is that the special edition version of this film has DTS and DD 5.1 sound.

My Sweet Little Village is a touching, rewatchable classic Czech comedy that is a wonderful escape from beginning to end. Watching this film made me fantasize about living in Europe during the 1980s!