This tale of courage and country living circa WWII is the sort of typically anemic import that tends to clog the Academy Awards' Foreign Language Film category (unsurprisingly, it was one such nominee for 2003). Director Ondrej Trojan seems to feel duty bound to deliver at least one minor catastrophe per reel, putting his actress through the typical masochistic paces—lovers leave, rapists lurk, lives are needlessly lost—that have fueled such oh-the-inhumanity fare for decades. The rote assembly-line feel and mawkishly coddling coda atrophy into a drawn-out marathon of misery that seems endless and, eventually, rather empty.
Cast and crew
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