Protektor is a
story set during the holocaust. This is a
defining element of the film but it isn't something that gives you a
understanding of what it was about. It isn't a film that intends to
explore the atrocities or repercussions of what happened in Germany
World War II. This is instead a story almost entirely about a failing
the reason the relationship wasn't working. It's a
with the backdrop being one of the worst times in the history of the
the film work? Not entirely, but it is not without its merits.
(Marek Daniel) is a Czech who works as
journalist until he becomes recruited into being one of the Radio
broadcasters bringing Nazi propaganda into the homes of Germans. He
not out of a loyalty to the Nazi party or Adolf Hitler but out of a
bring potential protection to his wife Hana (Jana Plodkova), who has a
background. While Emil's intentions are
only to help protect his wife (and probably himself too) he doesn't see
work he is doing is creating a huge gap in the ladder between the
that he has with his wife Hana. Things just aren't what they used to be.
a film actress who had recently become catapulted
to fame with one of her films, and was on her way to an even bigger
That was before she became unable to even act in productions... let alone
theater to view a film because of the fact she is Jewish. The
her was not supportive of her desire to remain artistic. This made even
relationship problems between her and her husband Emil because he
accepting person of her desire to continue to try and remain active
the home as he feared her capture and wanted to prevent her from being
a concentration camp. The only thing Emil wants for her to do is to
home and be grateful that she isn't an entirely alone Jew with no one
to help her
stay alive. Emil sees himself as protective while Hana sees him as
This was a fascinating relationship issue that asked difficult
the challenges of marriage in a unique way by placing it within the
of World War II.
worst thing about this film (and there are
multiple areas in which the film seemed to be unsure of itself) is that
isn't a point in which I found the editing to be flawless. That is to
considered it something unevenly edited from start to finish. The film
with a scene from towards the end of the story. It wasn't until the
almost over that I even had an idea of what was going on in the opening
seems to me a huge error in editing, as the
only result is a confused viewer at the start of a film. It's a good
way to make
audiences want to tune out rather than wait anxiously to see where the
might be heading. It didn't work as intended. It didn't grab interest.
pushed interest away. The editing is poor throughout and it seemed to
confused about how to present this story. Many scenes are chaotic in
the way in
which they are edited, perhaps as if they are in a rush to reach some
destination rather than to tell an interesting story that finally
arrives at one.
script wasn't without some issues. It did a fine
job of developing interesting characters, but if it intended to make
it didn't do an excellent job. Some might even think that is putting
lightly. I was often in confusion over
how the audience is supposed to react to some of the actions of these
characters. The husband was too demanding while the wife was too risky
in her actions
given the circumstances. Then there's the fact that both of them cheat
other and neither one of them seems to fully understand one another...
me that at one point during the film I even began to wonder why the
a couple to begin with. That doesn't help a film where the main point
seems to be as a study of the character relationships. The performances
strong but sometimes it's the dialogue that needs some fine tuning
actors can create the best character possible.
thing the film gets right is the style. It feels like
an odd combination of 50's or 60's
noir mixed with the character-based understanding of independent 90's
Then it throws in some post-modern appeal, and it seems even more
it does work in its own and uniquely interesting
way. Protektor practically oozes
styles in every frame. This is mainly
a result of director Marek Najbrt's visual approach to telling the
what I was expecting it to be. What exactly I
was expecting, I'm not sure, but certainly not a film that seemed this
structurally ambivalent and that focused more on personal relationship
than on the war. It wasn't a total success in my view, but I'd still
seeing it. There are certainly some good things going for it if
to find themselves willing to take a chance on a oddball story set
deeply unsettling times.
Movement has presented Protektor with a 16:9
Anamorphic Widescreen transfer that should
manage to impressive viewers using widescreen HDTV displays. For a DVD
this looks remarkable. The 1.85:1 scope is representative of the
theatrical release. The cinematography by Miloslav Holman captures the
of many noir productions in stylistic approach. It always seemed as
film looked exactly as it should. There was strong clarity throughout.
were muted but used well.
surround sound mix was actually a pretty
good one. The recently reviewed release of Film Movement's Karen
Cries on the Bus featured a low-key audio track and I must
say: there wasn't much that I was expecting from Protektor
as a result of the audio quality on that other release.
It just goes to show you how each film has an entirely unique
that studios frequently represent only the sound as it was originally
mixed. I didn't
consider Protektor to have excellent
aural qualities, but it had some good ones. It contained an excellent
Midi Lidi. There were also many sound effects that were utilized well
various sequences. The bass was also decent... all things considered. Protektor is presented in Czech with
English subtitles. The included subtitles were never distracting and
be well made (with few if any spelling or grammatical errors).
Movement continues to include a monthly short
film. The selection on this release is: I
Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors. It is an adaptation of a memoir
Bernice Eisenstein. It uses animation to convey the story and humor to
offset the sadness. It's essentially about the hardships associated
growing up with people who lived through such terrible ordeals. It
view-point of someone who grew up with survivors, and it paints a
picture. The piece is well narrated and features artistic animation
a big impression. Director Ann Marie Fleming made one of the most
films that I've seen on any of the Film Movement releases.
release also contains bios and trailers for
other Film Movement releases.
a total home-run. It couldn't quite make it
to all of the bases either. OK, maybe it did, but it was barely able
film ultimately works (especially during what became an increasingly
second-half) but it does suffer from weak editing and odd
The style is memorable and the acting was actually pretty good. It's a
worthwhile film that might manage to find a larger audience. I'm
most will consider it to be anything more than merely good though, but
maybe it's just me.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.