New York Times - 06/08/2001
"...This well-timed revelation restores one's faith in World War II as a still-fertile screen subject..." -- 4 out of 4 stars
Los Angeles Times - 06/08/2001
"...Wonderfully, inescapably Czech....Poignant, humanistic an irresistibly comic, DIVIDED WE FALL has that characteristic national ability to distill laughter from painful situations..."
Sight and Sound - 06/01/2002
"...The nuanced presentation of the film's characters, and the weaving of their personal stories into the backdrop of momentous historical events, demand a balancing act of great audacity and skill....Bold and admirable..."
Total Film - 06/01/2002
"...Slaloming from the light-hearted to the foreboding with barely a lurch, Jan Hrebejk's impressive movie fully deserved its 2001 Best Foreign Film Oscar nom..."
USA Today - 11/30/2001
"...Filmed for Czech TV in a jittery style that suits its near-neurotic characters..."
Jan Hrebejk's DIVIDED WE FALL, the Czech nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2001 Academy Awards, tells the moving tale of a Czech couple attempting desperately to preserve their humanity while the Nazis take over their country and wage war on the rest of Europe. Bolek Polivka stars as Josef, a humble man helping the Jews pack up and leave before the Nazi invasion. He and his wife, Marie (the marvelous Anna Siskova), are in danger of drifting apart because they are unable to have children. Once the war begins and the Jews are shepherded out of their town and to Theresienstadt, Marie and Josef must obey the Gestapo's rules or else end up being arrested. They are visited almost daily by Horst (Jaroslav Ducek), who is quite taken with Marie while trying to lure Josef into collaborating the Nazis; to show his support for the new regime, Horst has even trimmed his mustache and combed his hair so that he closely resembles Hitler. When an escaped Jew (whose father Josef and Horst used to work for) shows up needing help, Josef and Marie are unable to say no, even though they understand that they will be killed if they are caught harboring a fugitive.
Hrebejk's film, featuring powerful music and stunning camerawork--including emotional scenes shot in virtual slow motion with frames cut out and a grainy texture--is an important document of a horrific time in which people were forced to make basic human decisions about themselves and their neighbors that could lead to the death and devastation of entire communities.