Lost in all the well-deserved hype about Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon, were four other films nominated for Best Foreign
Language Film at the Oscars.
One of the other nominees was the Czech film, Divided We Fall.
This film is in Czech and German with subtitles. This is just one
of the many films, TV shows and books that seem to have appeared recently
that deal with World War II and the Holocaust. Divided We Fall
is somewhat reminiscent of The
Diary of Anne Frank. It follows the lives of people living in
a small town in Czechoslovakia during World War II. Before the war,
the characters including Jews and Germans lived and worked together but
after the outbreak of the war everything is turned topsy turvy. At
the center of the film are a man and his wife who end up hiding a Jewish
man whose family they knew and worked for before the war. Another
Czech who is an ethnic German and who also used to work for the same company
is now an important man in the town as he is working for the Germans.
Although married himself, he is infatuated with the wife and constantly
turns up on her doorstep for surprise visits. From the trailer and what
I heard about this film, I was expecting another semi-comedy about the
Holocaust a la Life is Beautiful
or Jakob The Liar.
But although it has its funny moments, Divided We Fall is a well-acted
drama. In particular, Bolek Polivka who plays the husband, is amazingly
good as a man who would rather be taking a nap but is forced to balance
trying to do the right thing with his terror of being caught and executed.
Divided We Fall gives a very good view of small town life in Czechoslovakia
during the war and how people's loyalties change and change again in response
to the tide of events. The rest of the cast is good too but what
makes this movie worth watching is Polivka and how he deals with the events
that are boiling around him. From what I read, Polivka
may be the Robin Williams of the Czech Republic but he makes Divided
We Fall a far better film to rent than Jakob