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This gentle comedy takes place just after the WWII, during the school year 1945/46. Ten-year-old Eda and his friend Tonda attend an elementary school in the Prague suburbs. They are pupils of an all-boys class, famous for its bad behavior. No wonder their teacher is driven out of her mind one day and is replaced by Igor Hnízdo. He is a tough disciplinarian but has a big weakness – his interest in women. The Elementary School received an Oscar nomination in 1992 for Best Foreign Film. Written by the director’s father, Zdeněk Svěrák, the film is an autobiographical mosaic of his childhood memories. It is a celebration of boyhood imagination and the optimistic atmosphere, very much reflecting the post-1989 Velvet Revolution period in which the film was made.
His short film Oilgobblers received the Student Oscar in 1988. His first feature film Elementary School (1991) got him a nomination for the Academy Oscar. Among other films, he has directed Accumulator 1 (UCCA Venticittà Award at Venice) and Kolya, which won an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1997.