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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Diamonds of the Night')

Directed by Jan Nemec
Czechoslovakia 1964

Another outstanding example of Czech New Wave cinema, DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT was directed in 1964 by the 27-year-old Jan Nemec and based on the writings of Holocaust survivor Arnost Lustig. Running just over an hour, the film compresses four days in the lives of two Jewish boys (Ladislav Jansky and Antonin Kumbera) who, while being transferred to a concentration camp, jump from the transport and escape into the woods. Physically and mentally exhausted, hungry, lost, and desperate, they scrounge for food and shelter and are later chased and caught by a group of old men, only to be released. As their fatigue increases, the boys begin to hallucinate, imagining that the trees are falling down on them or that swarms of ants are crawling on their bodies. Perhaps even more impressive than the startling visual style--there is much hand-held camerawork, and a sense of realism or, as Nemec would call it, "dream realism"--is the sound or the lack thereof. DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT is practically without dialog, and there are long stretches in which nothing is heard but the ticking of a clock or the sound of breathing.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

Theatrical Release: September 25th, 1964

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DVD Review: Second Run - Region 0 - PAL

DVD Box Cover

   

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Also available in the The Czechoslovak New Wave - A Collection (3 Film Box Set) Below:

Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:03:44 (4% PAL Speedup)
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.8 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• An Appreciation by Peter Hames (20:21)
• Stills Gallery
• 16-page booklet featuring a new essay by writer and film historian Michael Brooke.

DVD Release Date: May 10th, 2010

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 8

 

Comments:

Almost totally devoid of dialogue, Diamonds of the Night details the WWII survivalist attempt of two lads, in their teens, as they try to desperately escape a train bound for a Nazi concentration camp. It's tense and riveting throughout its hour running time. Shot sparingly in black and white the film was the debut of, revered Czech director, Jan Nemec.

The DVD is region free, progressive, in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and rendered in the PAL standard. It is not without visual issues with unexpected blown-out brightness and excessive cue blips in the final reels. Still this can most likely be blamed on the available source not the transfer. I wasn't deterred by any perceived flaws in my presentation and suspect they actually enhanced my viewing - lending a pragmatic vérité edge.

The flat 2.0 channel audio is fairly consistent but not a big part of the presentation as dialogue is kept sparse. There are, complete, optional English subtitles. Supplements include a 20-minute 'Appreciation' by author and film programmer Peter Hames, a, Stills Gallery and an enjoyable 16-page booklet featuring a revealing essay by writer and film historian Michael Brooke. Great stuff!

This is astounding to actually own and watch in your home theater. Second Run have done another stupendous job exposing a true masterpiece worthy of shelf-space in any DVD library. While I enjoyed Nemec's The Party and the Guests - Diamonds of the Night absolutely blew me away. This has our highest recommendation!  

Gary W. Tooze

 


 

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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Also available in the The Czechoslovak New Wave - A Collection (3 Film Box Set) Below:




 

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