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Divided We Fall

Director Jan Hrebejk, working in the distinctly Czech tradition of absurdist humanism, recalls the 1960s Czech New Wave with his Oscar-nominated Divided We Fall. Set in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, the film opens with a series of vignettes spaced two years apart, beginning in 1937, which introduce the main characters: David, the son of a Jewish businessman; Horst, the family chauffeur; and Josef, the head of the company's sales division. The audience watches as David's family is forced to abandon their home and is taken to Thierenstadt. The bulk of the film takes place in 1941, when David escapes from the concentration camp and returns to the town, the only surviving member of his family. Josef and his wife Marie agree to hide David in their home, and his presence gives birth to a host of unlikely, farcical events. The film has been compared to Benigni's Life is Beautiful, but with a different tone. Even seemingly unsympathetic characters are granted their humanity and moral complexity. See "Movie Listings" for theaters.

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