Most of us never get the chance to see some of the most compelling movies around, simply because they fall into that oft-overlooked category of "short films." You can tell a lot of story in 20 or 40 minutes, but unless you pad it out to an hour and a half or two, nobody's going to show your movie. Or rent it at the video store. Or even hear about it.
Often, that's a pity. In the case of Most, it's a terrible loss. People who have seen this film count it among the best and most powerful movies they have ever seen: some say it's been life-changing. An audience favorite when it debuted at the prestigious Sundance Festival, it went on to win top honors at the Heartland Film Festival, Maui, Palm Springs and other international competitions before receiving an Oscar nomination as Best Live Action Short Film in 2003.
"Most" is Czech for "The Bridge," and this story revolves around a man who operates a railway drawbridge somewhere in Eastern Europe. One of the glories of this small masterpiece is the acting: what a privilege to see such astonishingly accomplished actors, their faces completely unrecognizable to a North American audience. None of the distractions of celebrity to compete with the reality of the world that opens up onscreen.
And what a tangible, engrossing, closely observed world it is. The seed of this screenplay may be something of a Christian "urban legend," familiar from sermons, tracts and fireside talks at summer camp, but the film's exquisite attention to sensual detail and deeper character development makes it so much more. The events at the core of this story may have happened once—or may not have. But over the years its telling and retelling have stripped away the particularities and reduced it to its ...