Three aging clowns start on the road to re-uniting their legendary performance group after a 30-year rift.
Oskar, Max and Viktor used to be a hugely popular clowning trio, the ‘Busters’, in Czechoslovakia in the 1970’s and 1980’s. With the country under the thumb of an oppressive communist regime and following a tremendous bust-up between the members of the group, Oskar fled abroad. Thirty years later, he returns in an effort to re-connect with his broken family. The time is ticking for the ‘Busters’ to re-unite, but life has taken its toll on the aging clowns: Viktor is nursing his Alzheimers-stricken wife and Max is undergoing chemotherapy for rectal cancer. As the trio gets closer and closer to reuniting, the pressure mounts – but as much as it forces them together, it threatens to rip them apart again.
Sometimes dark and moody, at other times dotted with delightful clowning, ‘Clownwise’ is a thoughtful look at the natures of old age and friendship. Feelings and themes of treachery, regret and forgiveness run deep in the story, especially as it’s set against the backdrop of a post-Velvet Revolution Czech Republic. Petr Jarchovský’s script shines, as do the performances from the three lead actors, Didier Flamand, Oldrich Kaiser and Jirí Lábus.