Like Il Posto, Forman's first film is about a boy's bemused encounter with the world in his first job, in this case as a trainee supermarket detective; and like Olmi, Forman displays a sympathetically quizzical eye for human failings. Urged by pompous dad to make good, the slow-witted Peter doggedly shadows a suspect (the wrong man, as it happens) through the shelves and the streets, but never quite summons up the resolution to do anything; prodded by fond mum about marriage prospects, he falls for the adorable Pavla, but remains too bashfully hesitant to realise how available she is. No messages here, simply an irresistibly wry and witty look at life's little pitfalls, full of affection for every last one of the characters.
Cast and crew
Milos Forman, Jaroslav Papousek