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A Czech journalist joins a Prague radio station that broadcasts Nazi propaganda in order to protect his Jewish wife. However, as the Nazi rule over Czechoslovakia calls for more and more collaboration, his relationship with his wife spirals downward. Written by
Protektor is visually superb, but story is a bit weak.
As someone who has an interest in the Nazi period of European history the movie Protektor naturally attracted my interest. I especially enjoy watching foreign films of the period to see how those(and their descendants) who actually suffered under Nazi rule have dealt with the legacy of the period.
This film is unlike most films I have seen of the period in that both of the main characters are flawed--deeply flawed in fact. Emil, the husband, is an philanderer, who collaborates with the Nazis.He says that he is doing so to protect his wife, Hana, but we suspect that professional gain plays not a bit part in his motivation to broadcast the Nazis' propaganda.
Hana, meanwhile, cannot refrain from engaging in provocative behavior that put both her and Emil at risk for imprisonment in a concentration camp. Hana's obliviousness to the danger of her behavior is the weakest element of this film. From having her pictures take outside and inside of places where Jews are restricted to even harboring a fellow Jew, Hana insists on brazenly flouting the Nazi's regulations. One can sympathize with her to an certain extent, but it does make one wonder about her mental state. Surely no one who has Jewish would be so foolhardy to risk antagonizing the Nazis--especially so after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The Nazi response to Heydrich's killing was extremely brutal. The town of Lidice was leveled and all the males over the age of 16.(males 16 and over were also massacred in the town of Lezaky as well as all of their females)At least 1300 people were murdered in the aftermath of the brutal response to Heydrich's killing. In view of this, Hana's actions indicate an almost pathological desire to be arrested and deported.
In having said all that, I do appreciate the efforts of the filmmakers to display the complexity of behind the decisions people made to collaborate with the Nazis. The Nazis gave people only two choices: submit or you or someone you love, will be subject to arrest, torture, and death. This of course does not excuse their actions nor is it a blanket explanation for all who collaborated. Many did so for financial and/ideological reasons. But it does offer a different view from the normal depictions of collaborators we see in film.
My number one complaint with the film is that it never explores why Hana is behaving in the manner that she is behaving. While we all can appreciate the resentment at being excluded from society, Hana was not the only Jew to have suffer from oppression in Prague. Why was her reaction so different from the rest of Prague's Jews? Her actions throughout the film are never explained and for a person like me who is familiar with the Nazis and the Holocaust, her brazen behavior strikes me as unbelievable.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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