7.6/10
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A nurse is part of the resistance in 1940s Czechoslovakia. She is discovered and must find a place to hide. A patient whose life she saved, from a remote mountain village where time stopped 150 years ago, agrees to hide her as his wife.

Director:

Ondrej Trojan
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anna Geislerová ... Eliska / Hana
György Cserhalmi ... Joza
Jaroslava Adamová ... Lucka
Miroslav Donutil ... Priest
Jaroslav Dusek ... Teacher Tkác
Iva Bittová ... Zena
Ivan Trojan ... Richard
Jan Hrusínský ... Slávek
Anna Vertelárová Anna Vertelárová ... Helenka
Tomás Zatecka ... Lipka
Ondrej Koval ... Michal Kutina
Tatiana Vajdová Tatiana Vajdová ... Anna Kutinová
Frantisek Velecký ... Old Kutina
Viera Pavlíková Viera Pavlíková ... Old Kutinová
Juraj Hrcka ... Vojta Juriga
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Storyline

A nurse and her surgeon-lover are part of a resistance movement in 1940s Czechoslovakia. When they are discovered, her lover flees and she must find a place to hide. A patient whose life she saved, a man from a remote mountain village where time stopped 150 years ago, agrees to hide her as his wife. Written by da man

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An epic tale of love, courage and the will to survive.

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

Czech | Russian | German

Release Date:

4 September 2003 (Czech Republic) See more »

Also Known As:

Erotas sto Zelary See more »

Filming Locations:

Brno, Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,002, 19 September 2004

Gross USA:

$330,033

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,461,305
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Czech Republic's official submission to 76th Academy Award's Foreign Language in 2004. See more »

Goofs

When Hana and Joza go to visit his mother's grave she is wearing a different dress as they return home. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Vsechnopárty: Episode dated 26 January 2018 (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

The Moon
Lyrics and Music by Petr Ostrouchov
Performed by Petr Hanzlík
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very satisfying and well directed 8 out of 10
22 July 2008 | by filmbaySee all my reviews

As long as there are wars and womenfolk to revere, the feisty spirit of Scarlett O'Hara will never die. The story of a privileged beauty who is transformed by war and sacrifice into a paragon of resilience keeps popping up in film: Catherine Deneuve in Indochine (1992), Sandrine Bonnaire in East-West (1999), Nicole Kidman in last year's Cold Mountain.

Zelary is the Czech version, an old-fashioned character-driven domestic epic which was adapted from an novel by Kveta Legatova. Set in the Second World War against the background of the German occupation, the film was selected as the Czech Republic's Oscar nomination last year. A return to directing for Ondrej Trojan (Let's All Sing Around) after more than a decade as a producer, Zelary is a trite but sturdy offering, a showcase for popular young Czech actress Anna Geislerova, as well as the beautiful Moravian countryside, shot in glowing earthy tones.

Geislerova plays Eliska, a medical student who has been denied a chance to finish her degree because of the German occupation. She works as a nurse, but is also involved in the resistance movement with her lover, a surgeon named Richard (Ivan Trojan). One night a sawmill worker, Joseph (Hungarian actor Gyorgy Cserhalmi), from a rural community is brought into the hospital badly injured. Eliska provides the blood he needs for a transfusion. Shortly after, the Gestapo uncovers the resistance group that Eliska belongs to and she is forced to escape. Joseph, or Jova for short, agrees to take her back to his rural village of Zelary.

Initially the conditions, a dirt floor and no running water, shock her but she has no choice but to stay. She takes on an assumed identity, as Hana, and goes through a marriage ceremony to avoid suspicion from the local villagers.

Hana becomes acclimatized to her new housewifely life surprisingly quickly as she discovers, as women so often do in romance novels, that a hulking, taciturn man can meet nearly all her needs. Jova proves himself both a font of compassion and pillar of strength, providing Hana with a wooden floor and defending her from a rapist before they eventually become lovers.

While Hana bonds with her woodcutter, the script provides some welcome additional village texture. There's that Czech cinema staple, the precocious child (Anna Vertelarova) and her pragmatic widowed mother, as well as a bureaucratic school principal and his friend, a compassionate priest. There's also an ancient midwife (Jaroslava Adamova) who teaches Hana folk medicine. The most trenchant subplot concerns the local drunk who beats his wife and son: Their imprisonment serves as a contrast to the caring imprisonment that Hana faces.

The German army, lurking in the nearby hills, pops up periodically to add a jolt of suspense. Unfortunately, Zelary doesn't end with the war.

Soon the ruthless Germans are replaced by the loutish, drunken, raping soldiers of the Soviet army and Zelary is in for a whole new round of problems. By this point -- well past the two-hour mark -- the endlessly episodic nature of Eliska/Hana's trials begins to provoke fatigue more than sympathy. "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart," wrote the poet William Butler Yeats. And too much history can make any long-suffering heroine overstay her welcome. Benjamin Miller, Filmbay Editor.


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