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Diamonds of the Night

Spine #969

Apr 16, 2019

Number of Discs: 1

  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • Czech PCM Mono
  • English subtitles

Diamonds of the Night

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Original release

Directed By: Jan Nemec
Licensor: Janus Films
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With this simultaneously harrowing and lyrical debut feature, Jan Němec established himself as the most uncompromising visionary among the radical filmmakers who made up the Czechoslovak New Wave. Adapted from a novel by Arnošt Lustig, Diamonds of the Night closely tracks two boys who escape from a concentration-camp transport and flee into the surrounding woods, a hostile terrain where the brute realities of survival coexist with dreams, memories, and fragments of visual poetry. Along with visceral camera work by Jaroslav Kučera and Miroslav Ondříček—two of Czechoslovak cinema’s most influential cinematographers—Němec makes inventive use of fractured editing, elliptical storytelling, and flights of surrealism as he strips context away from this bare-bones tale, evoking the dizzying plight of consciousness lost in night and fog.

  • Interview from 2009 with director Jan Nemec
  • A Loaf of Bread, Němec’s 1960 student thesis film, based on a short story by ArnoÅ¡t Lustig
  • ArnoÅ¡t Lustig Through the Eyes of Jan Němec, a short documentary on Lustig from 1993
  • New interview with film programmer Irena Kovarova
  • New video essay on the film’s stylistic influences by scholar James Quandt
  • An essay by film critic Michael Atkinson


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