Romeo, Juliet and Darkness

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in czech with Eng subs


PLOT: Pavel, a young student living in Prague in 1942, hides a Jewish girl in his apartment building's attic. Amidst the brutality of the occupying German army, love blossoms between the two. He is her only link to the outside world. Then the two are discovered by Pavel's mother, who forces the residents of the apartment building to decide whether Hana can remain. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <>

REVIEW: Beautifully-told tragedy, 8 March 2008 

Author: Auteurist-en-Ecosse from Scotland, United Kingdom 

Jiri Weiss's 1960 film Romeo, Juliet and Darkness is a wholly convincing, tightly controlled account of the human costs of despotism. The story takes place against the background of the Nazi occupation of Prague, and more specifically the horrible repercussions visited upon the population after the assassination of Heydrich, the leading Nazi in Czechoslovakia. A young man, in his final year at school, takes in and shelters in the attic of his mother's house a Jewish girl of the same age, going to great pains both to conceal her presence and to find food for her. Weiss's direction is superb, with particularly good establishment of the atmosphere of the flats where most of the action occurs. Watching the move now, one almost feels one is present in the Prague of 1942, the movie being particularly effective at showing how routine life goes on under even the most harsh of political circumstances. The two young actors in the lead roles both give excellent and very moving performances. There are also a range of vividly-drawn characters in the background. At least two things make the film noteworthy, looking at it from today's perspective. First, the film is almost wholly free of any propagandistic elements, presumably quite an achievement given the time and place of its production. The film, with its emphasis on a humanistic depiction on the trials of ordinary people, points towards the Czech New Wave films which would appear five or six years later. Second, Weiss's direction is such that the film is simultaneously vivid and yet understated, the relative absence of histrionics making it all the more absorbing. The denouement is very powerful indeed, making the film (available on DVD in the UK) one that is very worthwhile seeking out. I bought the DVD not knowing what to expect; I ended up watching a masterpiece.

Technical specs:

Format : AVI 
Format/Info : Audio Video Interleave 
Format/Family : RIFF 
File size : 1.62 GiB 
PlayTime : 1h 32mn 
Bit rate : 2512 Kbps 
Writing application : transcode-1.0.5rc2 

Video #0 
Codec : XviD 
Codec/Family : MPEG-4 
Codec/Info : XviD project 
Codec settings/Packe : Yes 
Codec settings/BVOP : Yes 
Codec settings/QPel : No 
Codec settings/GMC : 0 
Codec settings/Matri : Default 
PlayTime : 1h 32mn 
Bit rate : 2243 Kbps 
Width : 720 pixels 
Height : 576 pixels 
Aspect ratio : 5/4 
Frame rate : 25.000 fps 
Standard : PAL 
Resolution : 8 bits 
Chroma : 4:2:0 
Interlacement : Progressive 
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.216 
Writing library : XviD0046 

Audio #0 
Codec : AC3 
PlayTime : 1h 32mn 
Bit rate : 256 Kbps 
Bit rate mode : CBR 
Channel(s) : 2 channels 
Channel positions : L R 
Sampling rate : 48 KHz 
Resolution : 16 bits 

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Romeo, Juliet and Darkness/Romeo,julia a tma.avi 1.744 GB
Romeo, Juliet and Darkness/Romeo,julia a 50.384 KB
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