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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
Who would have predicted that any of this would happen?
Protektor (2009) is a Czech film, directed by Marek Najbrt and shown in the United States as "Protector." (The title refers to Reinhard Heydrich, who was a high-ranking German Nazi official. He was Deputy Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia.)
Marek Daniel plays Emil Vrbata, a Czech journalist and radio announcer, who has no Nazi sympathies. However, Marek takes on the role of media spokesperson in order to protect his wife, Hana, who is Jewish. (Hana is played by the lovely Jana Plodková .)
Hana is given papers that will allow her to escape Czechoslovakia, but she disdains them. She, like so many others, cannot believe that the European powers will accept Hitler's demand for the Czech Sudetenland in order to prevent war. However, as we know, that's exactly what happened, and eventually Germany occupied all of Czechoslovakia, and began the ruthless persecution of Jews and of all opponents to the Third Reich.
Everyone has a limit beyond which he or she will not be pushed, but who knows where that limit is? Both of the protagonists in the film are selfish, reckless, and immature. That behavior may have been acceptable--or at least not lethal--in prewar Czechoslovakia. However, once the Nazis took over, it was just a matter of time before people had to change or be destroyed.
Someone pointed out that neither Emil nor Hana are particularly praiseworthy individuals, and that's true. However, as I see it, that's the point of the movie. We have all seen movies about heroes and martyrs. This is a movie about flawed people who find themselves in a horrendous situation. How they deal with this situation is at the crux of the film.
We saw this movie at the very praiseworthy Rochester Jewish Film Festival. It will also work well on DVD. It's not a great film, but it's definitely worth finding and seeing.
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