DVD - Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (3 stars)

Romeo, Juliet and Darkness

(PG) 92min (Second Run DVD retail)


Jirí Weiss’ fine 1960 film is a tale of moral ambivalence and youthful idealism. Set in 1942 Czechoslovakia at a time when the Nazis were occupying the country and the Jews were hounded out of it. Pavel (Ivan Mistrík) falls in love with the Jewish Hanka (Daniela Smutná) whom he hides in the family attic, but for how long can he keep her hidden away without the other residents finding out? And who will prove to be the heroes and villains in this housing block? Romeo and Juliet collide with the occupation in a film that is nicely told but lacks visual invention, and, with a minimal soundscape, feels more stagey than cinematic. Minor grumbles aside this, along with Jan Nemec’s The Party and the Guests, Karel Kachyna’s The Ear and Ivan Passer’s Intimate Lighting is among the key Czech films from the 1960s released by the remarkable distribution company Second Run. Extras include a booklet on the film. Visit www.secondrundvd.com for more information.

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