Forgotten Light

A small-town priest battles communist bureaucracy to save a decaying church in this 1996 feature from the Czech Republic, directed by Vladimir Michalek from a popular novel by Jakub Deml. Michalek updates the story to 1987, when the regime was loosening its grip, but the film is so old-fashioned and sentimental it might as well be Going My Way. Boleslav Polivka gives a dignified performance as Father Holy, a moral, courageous man who tangles with the police, the party commissars, and a bishop in cahoots with the apparatchiks, but who still pals around easily with his tiny congregation. Some scenes are cute or maudlin, yet this modest, fluently told story has enough emotional heft to save it from being preachy.

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