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A meeting of two Holocaust-related dramas from Czechoslovakia. Banned for decades, Distant Journey (Alfred Radok, Czechoslovakia, 1949, 98 mins.) was shot only three years after the war ended, making it one of the first films to deal with the Holocaust. The film follows the struggles of Dr. Hannah Kaufman and her family from the time of the Nazi Occupation of Prague to her experiences in the transit camp of Theresienstadt (modern Terezin). Director Alfred Radok skillfully weaves together documentary-style footage with expressionist dramatic sequences to convey both the reality of history and the nightmare of its impact. Then in The Fifth Horseman Is Fear (Zbynek Brynych, Czechoslovakia, 1964, 100 mins.), a Jewish physician in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia works in a warehouse after the Nazis ban all Jews from holding professional positions. When he helps an injured political fugitive, he is plunged into a moral and ethical conflict. Within an historical context, director Zynek Brynych creates a thinly disguised allegory about communist Czechoslovakia that is rich in atmosphere and dark in tone. "...a nearly perfect film" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). In Czech with English subtitles.

Alfred Radok/Zbynek Brynych---Czechoslovakia---1949/1964---198 mins.