Holiday Makers (Účastníci zájezdu): A Delightful Czech Comedy on the Road

Holiday Makers (Účastníci zájezdu), a 2006 Czech comedy film directed by Jiří Vejdělek, is a delightful adaptation of Michal Viewegh's novel of the same name. This film captures the essence of a typical Czech vacation with a diverse group of characters, each bringing their own unique quirks and personalities. The story revolves around a bus trip to the sea, driven by the two Karls, who humorously remind passengers to return their brown saucers to avoid burning their hands with plastic cups. The guide, Pamela, is sweet and somewhat naive, amusing the two gay travelers, Ignác and Oskar, who are joined by their friend, the famous singer Max. Jolana, a kind-hearted yet insecure young woman, has invited her parents on this trip, while the youngest passengers, Denisa and Irma, disdainfully observe the oldest travelers, Helga and Charlotte. Among the vacationers in Holiday Makers (Účastníci zájezdu) is a typical small-town family: father Jarda, mother Jituš, their little daughter, and son Jakub, who has been led to believe he is gay. Jarda and Jituš, with their limited understanding, avoid Ignác and Oskar, fearing homosexuality might be contagious. Another traveler, Vladimír, is a quiet young man who shows his kindness by offering Jolana a plastic bag for her seasickness, even though it contains his forgotten glasses. Upon arriving at their seaside destination, the group begins to get to know each other, with each having their own expectations for the holiday, which do not always align with reality. Holiday Makers (Účastníci zájezdu) is a quintessential Czech comedy, embodying the humor and charm that have made Czech cinema beloved. The film flows pleasantly, much smoother than the book's occasionally convoluted narrative. Vejdělek's direction brings a softer, more visually engaging touch to the story. Anna Polívková shines in her role, particularly in her swimsuit scenes, and the ensemble cast, including Eva Holubová and Bohumil Klepl, delivers memorable performances that bring the characters to life. The interactions among the diverse group of travelers create a tapestry of comedic moments and touching encounters, reflecting the intricacies of human nature and social dynamics. This film is a testament to the enduring appeal of Czech humor, filled with clever lines, hilarious situations, and a heartwarming atmosphere. It stands as a modern classic, appreciated by audiences for its relatability and charm. Despite the trend of criticizing Czech cinema, Holiday Makers (Účastníci zájezdu) proves to be a highly underrated gem. It captures the spirit of Viewegh's work while adding a cinematic flair that makes it a joy to watch. The film reminds viewers to return their brown saucers, a humorous nod to the practicalities of travel and the simple pleasures that come with it. Holiday Makers (Účastníci zájezdu) remains a beloved film, cherished for its humor, warmth, and the genuine portrayal of a Czech holiday experience.

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