Brynych's expressionist masterwork chronicles the small tyrannies and vast terrors of Nazi-occupied Prague, and one Jewish doctor's nightmare of the hunted within its borders. Hoping to aid a wounded resistance fighter, Dr. Braun leaves his home to find enough morphine to assuage the patient's pain. But his search discovers an already hallucinatory reality: a warehouse for confiscated Jewish property, where violins are retuned to their new masters' ears; a brothel for German soldiers, where Czech women are led like cattle to leering pig-like men; the streets themselves, where posters promise rewards for collaborators; and even his own apartment building, where neighbors coldly step over the bodies of the dead. Brynych's intense images were compared to those of Orson Welles, but their ultimate power rests not only in their cinematic flair, but in their commentary on the struggle of resistance against Europe's Nazi past, and Czechoslovakia's then-totalitarian present.

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