Picks and Pans Review: Divided We Fall

updated 06/18/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/18/2001 01:00AM

Boleslav Polivka, Anna Siskova, Jaroslav Dusek, Csongor Kassai

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When the Nazis occupy a Czech village during World War II, residents no longer know whom among themselves they can trust. The problem proves particularly vexing for Josef and Marie Cizek (Polivka and Siskova) after they take in David Wiener (Kassai), a local Jew who has escaped from a concentration camp and made his way back home. While Wiener stays holed up in a pantry in their apartment, the couple's attempts to keep their neighbors and the Germans at bay grow ever more desperate—and comic—in the beautifully observed Divided We Fall, which mixes cynicism and idealism in equal measure.

"Who would be foolish enough today to act like a hero?" asks a character in Fall. The answer here is that while many did, director Jan Hrebejk and screenwriter Petr Jarchovsky make clear that "heroic" motivations are often complex, contradictory and full of self-interest. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: Czech it out

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