If you’re prone to depression, don’t watch Pustina (HBO Max), an eight-episode Czech series directed by Štěpán Hulík and starring Zuzana Stivinova. If you’re also a strong supporter of capitalism, you’ll find that living in this small town on the border with Poland will confirm your ideological beliefs, little more unfortunate consequences of socialism than the locals’ standard of living. And if you are among those who believe in the goodness of man, you will see how wrong you are. All in all, Pustina is one of the most remarkable series to watch today, despite the misery and pettiness of the inhabitants of this small world and the harshness of its story.
The plot contains two conflicts. A general one: the proposal of a powerful mining company that wants to buy the entire city in order to expand coal production, after appropriate compensation for the residents. And another peculiarity: the disappearance of the mayor’s youngest daughter, who, out of love and respect for her roots, is leading the opposition to the business proposal. Two stories framed in a daily life where alcoholism, drugs and prostitution manage to unite the disinherited of the earth, capitalists or communists, with a political system’s proven inability to achieve harmony and well-being of its fellow citizens. .
If we talk about self-criticism, which some of the television productions contain, then Pustina is in the Olympus of self-destruction of patriotic values. Few series show so clearly the failure of a system that at the time propagated the realization of the New Man, a demagogic wish that seemed unattainable.
You can follow EL PAÍS TELEVISIÓN on Twitter or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Receive the TV newsletter
All the news from channels and platforms, with interviews, news and analysis, as well as recommendations and criticism from our journalists
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits