Thursday, March 25, 2010

Czech Mates

The first few minutes of Protecktor has the feel of a 1930’s Sam Spade noir piece. The opening scenes are a jarring Kaleidoscope, a little silly, a little over the top, so it comes as a surprise when the film turns serious and dark and fascinating, very fascinating.

The Nazi occupation is always fertile ground for tension. As Hitler’s regime occupies Czechoslovakia, life becomes more and more uncomfortable for a married couple. The wife is a film actress of Jewish descent, so her problems are obvious. Confinement in their small apartment chafes at her free spirit. The walls will not hold her.

The husband, a minor-level radio announcer, finds himself in a slow, reluctant march to the Furor’s tune. Soon, almost by accident, he finds himself the voice of Nazi propaganda, not a great gig when you have a Jewish wife.

There are other layers to Protecktor, such as the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, but the heart of the film is the husband. The film gives him no point to get off of this train of events, which we know must end badly. It is unsettling to realize that most of us, in his same shoes, would take the same steps – resistance seems so futile and so dangerous that the unreality of the occupiers quickly becomes the new reality.

Events are not always clear, motives are not always obvious, but the Protecktor will stick in your mind and fill it with questions. — Bob Carson

Fri., March 26, 11:30 a.m.; Sun., March 28, 4:25 p.m. To view trailer, click here.

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