Nominated for a ‘Best Foreign Film’ Oscar last year, director Jan Hrûbejk’s acclaimed film is set a small Czech town during the Nazi protectorate. Vaclav âiÏek (Boleslav Polivka) agrees to hide David, a Jewish man and former neighbour recently escaped from a concentration camp, thus putting the lives of his wife and neighbours at risk. When David fathers a child by âiÏek’s wife, he not only solves the couple’s fertility problems but provides legal protection against taking a Nazi lodger and the certainty of discovery.
A black comedy with a vein of almost endless irony, the film’s apparently humanist title, which translates literally as ‘We must help one another’, is in fact the motto of a friend who sees reality in terms of collaboration with the Nazi invaders. In order to hide David, âiÏek himself has to accommodate the Nazis and is accused of being a collaborator. The film constructs a complex interplay of characters, in which common cause and humanity can be rapidly dissolved or reversed by the course of political events. Based on a true story, this third collaboration between writer Petr Jarchovsk? and director H?ebejk (Cosy Dens) is full of believable characters and absurd situations.
Czech Republic, 2000. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 117 mins.