Želary (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Želary 2003

Directed by Ondrej Trojan

Austria / Czech Republic / Slovakia In Czech with English subtitles
150 minutes 35mm

Director

Screenplay

Petr Jarkovsky. Based on the novella Jozova Hanule by Kveta Legátová

Photography

Asen Sopov

Editor

Vladimír Barák

With

Aña Geislerová
,
György Cserhalmi
,
Ivan Trojan
,
Jan Hrusínsky

Festivals

Sydney 2004

Awards

Academy Award Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film 2004

Elsewhere

The producer of the excellent Czech wartime drama Divided We Fall turns to directing with the Oscar-nominated Zelary, telling a tale, based on fact, that plays like a rural companion piece to the earlier film. In a tiny, remote community in the spectacular Moravian countryside, Eliska, a resistance worker, takes refuge from the Nazis. She’s grateful for the hiding place and quick to adapt, but there’s no mistaking her urban origins. Few of the locals are fooled by her marriage to Joza, a shambling farmer, set in his ways and inexperienced with women. Gradually, Joza’s innate chivalry endears him to Eliska – and lends the film its abundant warmth and grace. Eliska’s precarious foothold is used against her by less savoury elements in the town, so that her growing absorption in country life is underlined by the constant likelihood of betrayal. Superbly acted by a cast of great actors who are fast becoming familiar to Festival audiences, Zelary renders life-and-death situations with a matter-of-fact realism that only heightens our identification with its appealing principals. — BG