Dark Blue World

Director: Jan Sverak

Franta (Ondrej Vetchy) is a pilot who, along with his young friend Karel (Krystof Hadek), flee Czechoslovakia as the Germans invade in 1939. Reaching England, they then join a number of their fellow countrymen by enlisting in the RAF to fly and fight in the Battle of Britain. In order to do their bit, the men first have to overcome a variety of cultural difficulties and gain the respect of the local RAF Wing Commander (Charles Dance). They are then pitched into the midst of aerial warfare, where life expectancy is incredibly low. When not on dangerous duty the men try to date the local English women, but Franta and Karel’s friendship is strained to breaking point because of their shared attraction to Susan (Tara Fitzgerald), a young widow.
From Jan Sverak, the Oscar-winning director of Kolya, comes this magnificently made romantic drama of heroism and self-sacrifice. Scripted, like Kolya, by the director’s father, Zdenek Sverak, Dark Blue World is closely based on the real-life experience of Czech fighter-pilots who survived the conflict only to be persecuted by the post-war Communist regime who had taken control when they returned home. On a technical level, Dark Blue World is stunning, with frighteningly realistic flying sequences, a convincing evocation of the period’s pleasures and privations, and with utterly believable performances from the attractive Czech cast.
Czech Republic-U.K.-Germany, 2001. Colour. Panavision anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 114 mins.

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