I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLANDBased on a picaresque novel by Czech novelist Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) the film tells the story, in flashback, of the burlesque rise and fall of an apprentice waiter in Prague during the first half of the last century. Jan Dites' rise from boy waiter to hotelier begins in a small town near the Czech-German border. This is where this ambitious young man first encounters the pleasures of an affluent lifestyle. This is also where he has his first sexual experiences. However, in the end, it is jealousy that propels him from his small Bohemian town. Shortly afterwards he obtains a position at a luxurious hotel near Prague where he encounters the crème de la crème of 1930s Czech society. Their extravagant lifestyle only serves to fuel his ambition; he soon starts working at an elegant new hotel at the centre of Prague. Among the hotel's guests is the Emperor of Abyssinia, who even rewards Jan with a medal for his services. With the Treaty of Munich Jan's luck begins to change. In love with a young Sudeten German activist named Lisa, Jan suddenly finds himself on the wrong side. But when the Germans occupy Czechoslovakia Jan's career really takes off: after proving his 'Aryan' descent, he marries Lisa and starts working for the Germans. Within a short space of time he finds himself in one of the 'Lebensborn' homes run by the SS, where Heinrich Himmler is hoping to breed the 'Aryan master race'. Before long it looks as though Jan's dream of owning his own hotel is well within his grasp ...
Czech Republic / Slovakian Republic 2006, 118 min
Bavaria Film International