Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Czech Drama "The Lens" on Channel Four, diverting, but not revelatory.

This Czech Drama was a random punt from the Channel Four Walter Presents box set season that brought me the wonderful Deutschland 83 

Visually it is arresting with much use of lighting techniques and glare in what is a relatively monochrome colour palette on film. This is I suppose par for the course in a show where photograph and cinematography as a art form take centre stage

Roman is dissatisfied with his daytime job of photographing brides and grooms at  weddings and taking soft  porn shots in the evenings. Embittered that he failed failed  into a revered photography school at 27, he takes low shots at his successful girlfriend's friend's film, alienating her in the process.

His Mother coddles him and his Traffic Policeman Father is a  grim realist; squelching his son's dreams of cinematic glory, wants him to photograph crime scenes. Finally when no other avenue to use a camera presents itself, he acquiesces  and undertakes and passes Police  Basic Training , which in the Czech Republic involves the use of Firearms.

Until he is sworn in, he is tasked to work exclusively with his Dad. Out to investigate a crash born of a drag race, Roman's Father is run down and ultimately is killed. 

To get justice for his father, Roman impersonates  an officer, and by ingratiating himself with a crack Detective team , most notably a striking female detective, who takes pity on him due to his tenacity, they discover a illegal drag racing racket with an underground betting syndicate able to pay off hospital staff to provide a cover up.

Roman's film making skills ultimately convict the culprits and he is tasked as a forensic film examiner and the series will grow from this pilot.

Whilst I enjoyed the show on a purely explorative fashion, the Czech locations were interesting and the fact that Mum and Dad in Czech appears to be Mummy and Daddy which made me smile often the characterisations were not deep enough to really draw me into the show, unlike it's German counterpart. It is arty and sparse and I am sure film students will rave about it, but for me where story is everything, this was sadly lacking. A diverting hour, but not a guilty pleasure unfortunately.


  1. Is each episode a different story. or is the whole series 1 story?