Bába z Ledu
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
With her lonely weeks bookended by fraught Sunday dinner-visits from her selfish sons and their squabbling families, widowed Hana (Zuzana Kronerová), in her mid-60s, is adrift and locked into a numbing quotidian existence. Until, that is, she pulls the drowning Brona (Pavel Nový) from a freezing river. The bearish Brona belongs to an ice-swimming group; taken with her, he invites her to join them in the plunge that refreshes. She does, and as she begins to succumb to his odd charms, she’s likewise seduced by the invigoration of the swimming itself and the camaraderie of the eccentrics who claim it as their passion. Featuring two of the Czech Republic’s most revered actors in the persons of Kronerová and Nový, Bohdan Sláma’s humanist work is a beautifully rendered reminder that self-realization and a sense of belonging can be discovered through the most unlikely of circumstances.
"Kronerová plunges into the title role in Ice Mother much as the character plunges into the Vltava River, with unselfconscious moxie. In this unsentimental story of a conventional woman’s late-in-life rebirth… [she] inhabits the role of Hana with an invigorating directness. And she has a terrific onscreen partner in Pavel Nový, as the winningly lusty geriatric swimmer who falls for the newbie to icy waters… The writer-director’s affection for his older characters couldn’t be clearer… [His film] is bracing in its refusal to turn senior citizens into cute mascots for capital-L life."—Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
Best Screenplay (International), Tribeca 17