Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Ondrej Trojan, Czech Republic, 2003 (9.2*)
Zelary is a gorgeous and touching film. Anna Geislerova is simply breathtaking, a reddish-blonde with green eyes, reminding me of both a young Lee Remick and Liv Ullman. She plays a nurse who's also a courier for the resistance in WW2 Prague, and when her cell is broken by the Gestapo, a man she gave blood to in the hospital offers to take her to his mountain village for refuge, a place so remote that neither the police nor Germans go there. In order to fit in with the villagers, she must marry the man that she doesn't know, but she's a survivor.

Georgy Cserhalmi is also excellent as Joza, the simple and earthy sawmill worker who becomes her husband and savior, and he reminded me of Gary Cooper, one of those "strong, silent heroes". There are also some terrific child actors in the mountains, plus a goat and one acting dog, a big shepherd named Azor.

This is a 2 1/2 hr epic, which covers all fours seasons and then some, about three years in their lives; location shooting took 14 months. The documentary on the dvd of the making of the film shows the tremendous effort the crew made to film in the rural mountains of Slovakia, filming once at 20 below zero. This is both a war film and a romance that will remain unforgettable.

Along with Kolya, which DID win an Oscar, the best two films from the Czech Republic. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2003.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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