How can one live with one's self having participated in the epitome of inhuman behavior? How does one justify such behavior to their self in order to maintain a facade of humanity? What about revenge by the people who have suffered the maximum injustice? It is easy to demonize others, but how do people who engage in demonic acts justify their behaviour as morally correct.
These themes are universal and take place in every culture and throughout history. Alois Nebel is just 1 small story, just 1 little man trying to make sense of the injustice and inhumane behaviour of fellow humans, he finds comfort in reading the timetables of the train schedule, as if the times are solid facts he can build his existence upon in a world of disguised brutality. His story takes place in a small mountain valley in Central Europe and is embedded in the history here. But that is not an excuse not to contemplate the larger themes that most people would much rather ignore than face. We need to face our history, just like Alois Nebel must face his own and not live in the fabrications that are created for us by those in power. Fabrications like the train schedule and fairy tale shown on the TV. And the corrupt behaviour of the average citizen - taking kickbacks, pocketing money meant for others, dealing with the enemy for personal gain. And knowing those morally corrupt around you also killed and expelled your family - how can a person live with that reality? These are the questions the film rises and these apply to everybody. Alois Nebel out of the fog creates his own reality with befriending a woman his cat, his devotion to his job (banging the train rails to hear if they are OK) and faith in the train table. Today's society creates its own distractions and "fog" in the form of Sports, reality TV, 24 hour "news" shows, personality cults based on celebrity (Oprah, Rush, Palin), and other contrived realities created by marketing professionals, Public Relations gurus and Religious figures in order for today's population to live in the fog and not realize what is really going on around them. I think there is a nod to Ken Kesey's novel "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" which was directed by Czech Milos Forman that also dealt with seeing the reality through the institutionalized (authority/government) fog.
Alios Nebel's tale is told within one milieu - post WWII expulsion of Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia mountain hinterlands, the morally corrupt Communist system that followed and finally the Freedom after the Velvet Revolution. Every tale must exist within a cultural milieu, but that doesn't mean the basic themes are unique to that time and space, just the opposite, they transcend these boundaries. The themes raised are able to be addressed by every viewer in every country, if they themselves are able to see through the "Nebel" (German for Fog) that exists around them. After viewing this film, I hope the viewer will think about illusions created around them and the reality that lies beneath. Alios Nebel has traveled this path.