Diamonds of the Night / Démanty noci

fiction / 1964 / Czechoslovakia / bw / 64 min.

Loosely based on a short story by Arnošt Lustig, this film is a debut by one of the most original Czech filmmakers of the 1960s, the 28-year-old Jan Němec. This drama on the verge of life and death tells the story of two Jewish young men and their escape from a Holocaust train, naturalistically capturing the state of exhaustion, anxiety, hunger and danger. Images of the escape of physically and mentally exhausted men are intertwined with associative flashbacks, dreams and hallucinations that make the subjective perception of the two protagonists come alive. Diamonds of the Night grasps the subject of holocaust through an intensely subjective perspective. Němec himself described the style of this technically and narratively provocative work as “dreamy realism” and this fact is only underlined by the visual composition, minimal dialogue and the use of silence as a dramatic element.

Director: Jan Němec
Screenplay: Arnošt Lustig, Jan Němec
Photography: Jaroslav Kučera, Miroslav Ondříček
Editor: Miroslav Hájek
Music: Jaroslav Ježek
Cast: Ladislav Jánský, Antonín Kumbera, Ilse Bischofová, Ivan Asič, August Bischof, Josef Koblížek, Josef Koggel, Josef Kubát, Vladimír Pucholt