FAMILY FRIEND is a melodrama taking place in the early 40s during German occupation. Three young women and two children await the return of their imprisoned husbands and fathers from Nazi concentration camps. A family friend and doctor named Jiri watches over the women forced into a family union by the war. The film tells a story of forbidden love that remains unfulfilled, friendship bigger than life, desire, departures and returns. Love, friendship and loyalty leave deep imprints on the family lives of women brought together by destiny. The film is the first part of director Jan Hřebejk’s trilogy Garden Store (Zahradnictví), also comprised of the films Deserter (Dezertér) and (Suitor) Nápadník. “…it’s a first-rate production that ranks right alongside Hřebejk and Jarchovský's finest work.” ~The Prague Reporter
Jan Hřebejk (b. 1967, Prague) is one of the Czech Republic’s most prolific and versatile film directors. He has also directed for the stage since 1997 (one of his most talked-about productions was Bullets over Broadway). His debut BIG BEAT (1993) won the very first Czech Lion Awards for Best Picture and Best Direction. COSY DENS, which competed at KVIFF in 1999, and PUPENDO (2003) feature among the biggest hits of post-revolution Czech cinema. In 2000, Hřebejk was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for the war tragicomedy DIVIDED WE FALL (2000). This true and bittersweet story tells of a Czechoslovakian couple whose village has been taken over by Nazi during World War II.