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The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

In 1968, a Czech doctor with an active sex life meets a woman who wants monogamy, and then the Soviet invasion further disrupts their lives.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,304 ( 167)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Franz
...
The Ambassador
...
Pavel
...
Chief Surgeon
...
Interior Ministry Official
...
The Engineer
Tomasz Borkowy ...
Jiri (as Tomek Bork)
Bruce Myers ...
Czech Editor
Pavel Slabý ...
Pavel's Nephew
Pascale Kalensky ...
Nurse Katja
Jacques Ciron ...
Swiss Restaurant Manager
Anne Lonnberg ...
Swiss Photographer
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Storyline

Tomas is a doctor and a lady-killer in 1960s Czechoslovakia, an apolitical man who is struck with love for the bookish country girl Tereza; his more sophisticated sometime lover Sabina eventually accepts their relationship and the two women form an electric friendship. The three are caught up in the events of the Prague Spring (1968), until the Soviet tanks crush the non-violent rebels; their illusions are shattered and their lives change forever. Written by Dan Hartung <dhartung@mcs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Lovers Story.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La insoportable levedad del ser  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$10,006,806 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house that Sabina is living in at the end when she's in America really belongs to film editor Walter Murch. See more »

Goofs

While nowadays, many people in the Czech Republic wear wedding bands on the left hand, back in 1968 they would have worn them on their right hand regardless of their political stance. Both of the main characters are shown in the movie to wear their wedding bands on the left hand as they would have in the U.S., not Czechoslovakia. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
First Title Card: In Prague, in 1968, there lived a young doctor named Tomas...
Tomas: Take off your clothes.
[line recurs several times during film]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Intervention (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Memorable and beautifully done
15 April 1999 | by (Las Vegas, NV) – See all my reviews

I've not read the book this is based on, so have no way to comment on how this movie translates it. But the film itself has stayed in my mind like few others. Yes, it's very long, but the characters are so memorable that the length didn't bother me at all - I loved the time spent in their company. In particular, Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin are each astonishing in their own way. Olin is ferociously sensual and mesmerizing, while Binoche is superlatively sympathetic and sensitive. Two of the best female performances I can remember. By the end of the film I was totally wrapped up in these people's lives. This film is deeply erotic but in an intelligent and adult way that puts most other film's treatment of sex to shame. I thought it was beautifully handled by all concerned, and if I ever want to cry, I only need watch the scenes with the dog and the final scenes, both pulled off superbly.


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