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ZELARY

As a member of the Czech Resistance during World War II, Eliska (Ana Geislerová) enjoys the perilous thrill her work gives her. But when the danger becomes real, she must leave her life behind and move to an isolated village. To maintain her cover, she marries the sweet, simple Joza (György Cserhalmi); they develop a tender, symbiotic relationship as she learns to appreciate her new life, and director Ondrej Trojan makes it easy to see why she warms to her new surroundings. From her tiny hut, which has an outhouse and no electricity, Eliska has a breathtaking view of the Czech countryside, and the film shows its calming effect on her. Life in the village, which for all its picturesque charm can be casually cruel, has a rhythmic order that suggests the villagers have an understanding of nature that guides their lives. Eventually, of course, the war catches up with them, in a way that seems both inevitable and shocking. But itís Zelaryís lyrical, elemental beauty that draws you, like Eliska, in. In Czech, Russian, and German with English subtitles. (148 minutes)

BY BROOKE HOLGERSON

Issue Date: October 29 - November 4, 2004
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