By: Natalia Asceric
“Shadow Country” is a Czech historical drama directed by Bohdan Sláma who is known for his contemporary drama movies and is one of Czech’s outstanding talents of cinema. He teamed up with producers Jindrich Motyl and Martin Ruzicka. This powerful World War II drama is a co-production with Filmpark and Czech Television. It required eight years of research and was inspired by the 1945 Tust massacre.
This impressive movie was shot in a little village at the Czech-Austrian border, which happens to be the director’s hometown, where only two buildings were built completely new. Even locals appeared in the movie which makes it more authentic and less staged. It focuses on the times after the year 1945 and portrays the mundane life of German, Czech, and Jewish people which is characterized by Nazi occupation and political aggressiveness leading to fatal personal and social issues. Slama wants to show how humans beings deal with the situation when evil is growing, but no one is doing something to stop it.
“deep, honest, and heartwrenching”
Shot in a stunning black and white cinematography, with time jumps between 1942 and 1952, makes it a visually superb masterpiece which deals with the truth and aftereffects of the second world war. The outrageous acting skills of Magdalena Borova, Stanislav Majer, Barbora Polakova enable the audience to understand the protagonists’ dilemma which mainly consists of deciding whether they identify as a German or Czech. The only thing that might affect the huge significance of this topic and the movie in a negative way could be the runtime of 135 minutes. It could quickly change into a monotonous movie and devalue its importance.
Although the movie uses black and white colours, it clarifies that nationalism, racism, and tension in society weren’t only a problem during these times but can always be an issue society has to deal with, even if only in a subliminal way. Slama’s masterpiece makes it possible to transfer human trauma on the screen and portrays in its own specific way what a real abuse of power can cause.
Check out the trailer