Zelary (2003)

Zelary (2003)

Anna GeislerováGyörgy CserhalmiIvan TrojanJaroslava Adamová
Ondrej Trojan


Zelary (2003) is a Czech,Russian,German movie. Ondrej Trojan has directed this movie. Anna Geislerová,György Cserhalmi,Ivan Trojan,Jaroslava Adamová are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2003. Zelary (2003) is considered one of the best Drama,Romance,War movie in India and around the world.

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.

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Zelary (2003) Reviews

  • Speaks directly to the heart


    A deep and lasting love does not always fit our pictures and indeed can arise from the most unlikely circumstances. In Zelary, a Czech film by Ondrej Trojan, an abiding romance between a rugged sawmill worker and a sophisticated medical student emerges from the conflict in Czechoslovakia during World War II. Based on the autobiographical novel Jozova Hanule by Kveta Legatova, Zelary is about a young medical student who is forced to live in a remote mountain village in order to escape the Gestapo. It is a film that poignantly depicts the upheaval of war and how people had to call upon their hidden resources simply to survive. Set in May 1943 when the Germans, under the guise of a protectorate, occupied Bohemia and Moravia, Aliska (Ana Geislerova), a student in Prague, works as a nurse in a provincial hospital after the Nazis close the universities. As the film opens, she is having an affair with Richard (Ivan Trojan), a successful surgeon. Both are members of the Czech resistance movement along with their superior at the hospital. When a planned underground operation fails, Richard is forced to emigrate and Eliska is given a new identity and safe passage to live out the war in the mountain village of Zelary with Joza (Gyorgy Cserhalmi), a patient at the hospital whose life was saved by Eliska's blood donation. It is clear from the outset that her adjustment to rural life will take time. Upon reaching the cottage after a long journey, she asks, "Where's the yard?" "Everywhere", he replies, She has a hard time living in an area without electricity or plumbing and goats running freely but, given the alternative, she doesn't complain. Eliska, now known as Hana, is met with suspicion by the residents of Zelary who wonder where Joza found her, but she is eventually accepted when she agrees to a marriage of convenience with Joza and begins to integrate herself into the life of the community. At a length of 150 minutes, the film becomes an epic of Hana's gradual adjustment to rural life while living in daily fear of her discovery by the Gestapo. At first, she is reluctant to let Joza touch her but he gradually wins her trust with his gentle manner and she comes to rely on him as her means of protection. In one touching scene, he gently bathes Hana after finding her bruised and drenched in a violent rainstorm. While Zelary has its tender moments, it is not an idyllic romp through the Czech countryside. The village has its share of drunkenness, abusive husbands, and violent confrontations between parents and children and Hana has to learn to deal with them. In one subplot, the schoolteacher Tkac (Jaroslav Dusak), a strict disciplinarian, constantly berates a young boy named Lipka (Tomas Zatecka) who has problems at home. Lipka leaves the school and is forced to hide in a cave to escape his abusive stepfather (Ondrej Koval), aided only by his friend, Helenka (Anna Vertelarova), a five-year-old girl. As the war refuses to go away, both Hana and Joza have to deal with fear and sudden death, and they both become increasingly resourceful and self-reliant. Hana forms a strong bond with the local midwife, Lucka (Jaraslov Adamova) who teaches her about herbal remedies and allows her to help with the medical needs of the community, exacerbated by the sudden presence of voracious Russian troops. Zelary does not break any new ground and some of the minor characters are one-dimensional, yet the film reaches us on an emotional level because of its sincerity and disdain for sentimentality. Nominated at the 2003 Oscars for Best Foreign-Language Film, the film is greatly enhanced by the compelling performances of both Geislerova and Cserhalmi, a Hungarian-born actor who exudes both physical and emotional strength. Though I would have liked to learn more about Aliska before and after the war and how her experiences had changed her, Zelary succeeds by transcending limitations of time and place and speaking directly to the human heart.

  • The war bride


    This magnificent film arrives way too late after it was nominated for the best foreign movie of 2003! Important European movies don't have the great market they should have in America, even though, this picture is better than some of the local fare. Director Ondrej Trojan must be congratulated for what he has done with this movie. The story begins in 1943, at the time where Europe was going through one of the worst moments of WWII. The Germans are everywhere and the Gestapo is the instrument to eliminate the people that are working in the resistance. When the young medical student and nurse, Eliska, is found to be in danger, she is send to the country with one of the patients she has been taking care at the hospital. Thus begins the saga of a woman who must hide, or face jail, or probably death. The movie then changes to a pastoral setting when Joza, the peasant who has been kind enough to take Eliska to his farm, agrees to marry her in conspiracy with the local priest and the school teacher. That part of the country is catholic and backward. There is a hypocrisy in the way this teacher and priest keep a closed eye about what the local peasantry are doing. On the one hand, the peasants appear to be God loving citizens, but they live lives dominated by alcohol, rape, incest, and other evil practices. No one questions anything. Joza enters in the marriage out of gratitude toward the nurse that helped him heal his wounds. Then, steadily, he falls in love with a woman who is completely different from him. In turn, Hana, as she is now named, starts seeing in Joza qualities she has taken for granted. Their love is genuine. The two principals, Anne Geislerova and Gyorgi Cserhalmi are wonderful in that make us believe they are these two people that get to know and love one another under the worst possible circumstances. The countryside where the film was filmed is so beautiful that it makes one wonder how could war have been waged in such surroundings. The magnificent cinematography of the picture takes us back to those sad years of the war, and what that country endured as a Soviet satellite nation.

  • Everything "Cold Mountain" wanted to be but much better.


    Following similar themes as "Cold Mountain" this official Oscar submission from the Czech Republic is a masterful war time drama with a great heart. Heart-breaking and warm, it carries those themes to a much richer conclusion than "Cold Mountain" was able to. if this film is not one of the Foreign Language film nominees then something is clearly amiss. See it!

  • Great movie


    For those who are fans of foreign films, this is a must. The scenery alone is enough reason to watch this movie. This was cast very well. The two main characters were outstanding as well as the children actors. The little girl reminds me of Natalie Wood when she was in Miracle on 34th street. The journey of the film takes one through every emotion in the book. Though it is slower paced, it allows one to reflect and bond with the characters. It's not a relaxing film as there is this underlying tension caused by the uncertainty of a country torn by war. Overall, an excellent film. Bravo to the director and all the crew! Outstanding job. I look forward to many more great films out of Czechoslovakia. Kerry Johnson

  • Realistic, powerful tale of love, transformation and loss.


    Hands down this is one of the top ten best movies I have ever seen. It succeeds on every level, with excellent cinematography, scenery, story, acting and even music. The acting is especially superb, with the characters and their interactions always seeming real and unforced. Even the child actors are utterly convincing, and the little girl in particular brings a sense of wide-eyed innocence and charm to her role. ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOLLOW****** The story is about a young medical student named Eliska, who is a member of the Czech resistance during WWII. When the Gestapo captures one of her comrades, she is forced to abandon her old life and flee to the mountains with Joza, a man whose life she saved by giving him a blood transfusion. As part of her new identity, she must enter into a sham marriage with Joza, in order to be accepted by her new, highly religious community and to avoid being arrested or sent to Germany as a laborer. The story revolves around her adaptation to life in this beautiful mountain village where people live much as they did 150 years ago, and her growing attachment and commitment to Joza and the people around her. The romance between Eliska and Joza proceeds in a believable, if inevitable, way, making an improbable pairing seem perfectly natural. Nevertheless there is nothing Hollywood about this romance or this movie, and that is a great strength. It aims for realism in depicting not only the bucolic beauty of village life, but also its dark underbelly, with some of the nastier villagers raping, assaulting and informing on others, while everyone drinks heavily. For anyone who has ever suffered major life changes after a sudden reversal of fortune or a tragedy, and has had to pick up the pieces and start again, you will likely identify with Eliska and find the whole premise of the movie to be convincing; it just feels right, somehow. I have seen this movie three times, and it gets better with every viewing, even knowing what is going to happen. It is a pity that Hollywood just can't seem to produce a movie that has this kind of depth and emotional resonance.


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