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The Independent Critic

Jakub Berry, Jiri Forejt, John Bok
Silvia Gregorova
25 Mins.

 Czech Short "Poklad" Continues on Indie Fest Circuit 
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Writer/director Silvia Gregorova's poignant yet funny short film Poklad ("Treasure") recently picked up the prize for Best Comedy at the Kansas City Independent Movie festival, a fest where Gregorova was also nominated for the Best Director prize. 

Poklad tells the story of two construction workers, Vasek (Jakub Berry) and Ondra (Jiri Forejt), who learn of a "treasure" that was allegedly left by a Jewish family during World War II just before they were deported to a concentration camp by the Nazis. The film, filled with much light humor, is nonetheless a poignant and powerful reminder of the conflicting perception of the Holocaust in Czech society and this poignancy is brought beautifully to life by John Bok as an old man the two young men encounter one evening in a village cafe where the plot is hatched to search for the hidden treasure. 

The two young men, Berry and Forejt, have a relaxed chemistry with one another and believably portray the casual way in which the desire for more wealth and more power quickly overcomes both common sense and moral boundary. Poklad doesn't in anyway demonize the two, but instead uses humor to make us all realize that one simple decision can quickly become a slippery slope toward greater tragedy. 

Or not. 

There was never much of a doubt where Poklad was actually going, a few random details perhaps left to be discovered, but it's the entertaining way in which Gregorova brings it all to life that makes Poklad such an entertaining film. 

Poklad is an entertaining film, though make no mistake that Gregorova is on a mission here and that mission comes vividly to life toward the film's end in a memorable way. 

John Bok is the real gem of Poklad, masterfully weaving together humor with the film's convicted heart. Bok is simultaneously endearing and funny, yet there's a seriousness to his presence that bubbles to the surface even as Bok is able to maintain the film's light touch. It's a terrific performance that deserves to be recognized. 

Poklad also picked up the Best Comedy prize at the Universal Film Festival in 2019 and continues on its indie festival run. For more information on the film, be sure to visit its Facebook page linked to in the credits. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic