Archive of films Divided We Fall / Musíme si pomáhat

Czech Republic
2000, 117 min

Section: Czech Films
Year: 2001


This highly successful occupation comedy is another co-operative effort from the creative team of screenwriter Petr Jarchovský and director Jan Hřebejk. The filmmakers look at the period of Czech occupation under the Nazis with detachment, comic exaggeration and an understanding of human weakness. The story, which contains moments of surprising tension, was drawn from actual events. Josef Čížek is the film’s melancholy hero, a pensioned, small-town clerk forced by circumstances to hide a young escaped Jew and then suffer grievously from the fear that his heroic deed will be exposed. The situation is dramatically complicated mainly by the Czech-German collaborator Prohaska who can’t hide his predilection for Josef’s charming wife Marie. The film was a box-office hit, it won five Czech Lions and the Czech Film Critics’ Award, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie also contains a short animated recreation of a period newsreel by the Czech illustrator Pavel Reisenauer.

About the director

Jan Hřebejk (b. 1967, Prague) graduated in script editing and screenwriting from Prague’s Film Academy (FAMU) where he gained recognition with his student films. He got started making feature films with screenwriter Petr Jarchovský, directing the bittersweet retro-musical Big Beat, the retro-comedy Cosy Dens, and the occupation comedy Divided We Fall. In addition, both he and Jarchovský worked on the script for Ondřej Trojan’s debut Let’s Sing a Song (1990) and on several episodes of the television series Bachelors. All of their films, each of which takes place in the recent past, have been smash hits and have won many awards. Jan Hřebejk has also published Patosání, a collection of poetry, and written four one-act plays for the Kašpar theatre group entitled Ordinary Loves. He has recently been successfully engaged as a director for the Pod Palmovkou Theatre in Prague.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Czech Films
Director: Jan Hřebejk
Screenplay: Petr Jarchovský
Dir. of Photography: Jan Malíř
Music: Aleš Březina
Editor: Vladimír Barák
Producer: Ondřej Trojan, Pavel Borovan
Production: Total HelpArt T. H. A., Česká televize
Cast: Boleslav Polívka, Anna Šišková, Jaroslav Dušek, Csongor Kassai, Jiří Pecha, Simona Stašová, Martin Huba, Jiří Kodet, Vladimír Marek, Richard Tesařík

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