Friday, August 18, 2006

DIVIDED WE FALL

DIVIDED WE FALL ("MUSIME SI POMOHAT," 2000, Czech Republic, Jan Hrbejk, screenplay with Petr Jarchovsky)
Oscar-nominated story of a childless Catholic couple reluctantly hiding a Jew from the Nazis during World War Two. The film aims to mix true-to-the-facts story and psychologically complex characters with comic, even farcical elements, on the apparent premise that that's just how life is, even under the occupation. It seems to lack LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL's potential to gall – perhaps because the film doesn't tackle the holocaust head-on, perhaps because it never feels like the film is trying to negate those horrors with wish-fulfilment or fantasy, only to demonstrate the absurdities found in such desperate times. While certain plot development and character motivations seem muddy or muddled (and the stylized filming of high-stress sequences unnecessary), the film's undeniable accomplishment lies ultimately in blurring the lines between collaborator and hero (a word repeated often). When Nativity themes planted with reference to a Madonna and child painting come into prominence near the end of the film (Josef, Marie, the seed of David, and three not-particularly-wise men, even), there is grace for Jew and Gentile alike, with collaborators and other dogs caught up in a morally complex, convincingly orchestrated deliverance – convincing, that is, if you're inclined to believe in miracles.
THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, THE REVOLT OF JOB, LES MISERABLES DU VINGTIEME SIECLE, PLACES IN THE HEART

Available at Videomatica

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