Diamonds of the Night

Courtesy of National Film Archive, Prague.

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Feb 21, 2014

(Jan Nemec, Czechoslovakia, 1964, Digital, 64 min)

Nemec’s conviction that a director must create “a personal style” and “a world independent of reality as it appears at the time” was already evident in his first feature length film. Diamonds follows the escape of two young concentration camp prisoners through the woods of Sudetenland and the ensuing pursuit of them. Moving freely between the present, dreams, and flashbacks, Nemec employs an aesthetic of Pure Cinema to depict the state of the distressed human mind.

The style was, in fact, inspired by the hallucinatory diary of an ailing boy, who escaped to Prague in 1945. Upon its release, one critic hailed the film as a “vehement protest against the humiliation of man.” 

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