It takes a (Czech) village: When Prague resistance fighter Eliska (Anna Geislerová) learns that the SS is after her, she flees to the mountain hamlet of Zelary to become the wife of a farmer whose life she once saved. Director Ondrej Trojan tells her journey with little sense of narrative pacing (certain events seem to happen twice) and even less of character (Eliska accepts her hausfrau destiny with inexplicable passivity). Only the ensemble cast of yokels is rendered with any consistency, their lives portrayed as a cycle of drinking, copulation, and more drinking. Zelary strands its protagonists in a hermetically sealed world where time runs in place. It’s a feeling that viewers of this two-and-a-half-hour epic will come to know all too well.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 7, 2004