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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
To truly understand this movie it is nearly essential that you know something about Czechoslovakia in the years 1938 through the Second World War. In 1938, Czechoslovakia was an independent country and facing down the growing might of Nazi Germany. With strong border fortifications and a promise of assistance from the Soviet Union, it seemed likely that the Czechs would be able to hold off the Germans. Furthermore, if France were to attack in the west with any resolve, Germany may have been defeated.
However, the Munich accords that were reached in late September of 1938 changed everything in Czechoslovakia. Britain and France sacrificed Czech integrity by forcing the country to give up the Sudentenland to Germany. Britain and France also extracted a promise from Hitler that he would leave the remainder of the country alone. In order to collect some of the spoils, Poland and Hungary grabbed sections of Czech territory; their turn to be the spoils would come later. Once there was nothing to stop him, Hitler occupied the remainder of the country in 1939, calling it a protectorate.
These actions turned the defiant Czechs into a morally defeated population where the people were forced to adapt to the current reality. For the Jews, this meant being subject to harsh restrictions before they were rounded up and sent to the camps. Some Czechs were able to reach accommodations with the Germans that kept them safe and even allowed them to flourish.
As the film opens, Emil is a Czech radio reporter in Prague that is not well known. His wife Hana is a Jewish actress that has just completed a film that everyone expects to be a major success. Emil is jealous of Hana's success, objecting to her kissing another man, even when it is on film. The arrival of the Germans changes all of this, the film is banned, Hana is subject to the restrictions on the activities of Jews and Emil is promoted to a starring role in the German controlled Czech radio. This gives him special privileges in terms of movement about the country as well as better quality food.
To Emil, he is surviving and protecting his wife, but to Hana, he is controlling her. She rebels and proudly continues to play the role of the actress, creating enormous problems for Emil in his job. Their marriage is strained, reaching a climax when Emil is told that to keep his job he must divorce Hana. The ending scene is one of ambiguity, where you can read your own interpretation as to the motivations of the major players, although there is little doubt about the fate that Emil and Hana face at the hands of the occupying Germans.
The film is superbly acted; the viewer empathizes with Emil and Hana as they struggle to cope with such enormous change in their lives. Both of them remain true to their nature, feeling the stress of surviving in such dangerous times. With so many of the rules of life inoperable, fundamental questions are posed. What actions are justified in protecting your wife? Does this include actions that would ordinarily be considered inappropriate?
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VINE VOICEon May 29, 2015
I consider this one of the better selections from Film Movement.

I found it very insightful. Set in Czechoslovakia during the 1930's, the Czechs felt safe from German's aggression because a treaty with the Soviet Union and their own preparedness. Famous and beautiful Hana stars in all the best movies but when the Germans march, her career disappears because she is Jewish. Meanwhile, Emil, her husband vows to protect her from harm and compromises his ethics as a news reporter to do so. Surprisingly, this turns out to be the best thing to happen in his career. Frustrated at her loss of career and then at her husband's sudden rise in popularity with other women and the Germans, she feels betrayed. Misunderstandings happen on both sides and their confusion fuels fires that no one can handle.

Though one reviewer states these characters as stupid, hindsight is 20/20. Yes, they make bad decisions, but they did so because they believed that hope was just around the corner. When circumstances change one doesn't always make the best decisions or realize the immensity or consequences of their choice. When there are many conflicting voices, who do you chose to believe?

I liked the unique format of the movie. It provides great insight into how people are selective in what they believe.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2012
Stylish film about a Jewish actress who must go into hiding in Nazi occupied Prague in the 30s and her husband, a radio journalist, who gains prominence as a spokesman for the occupiers. Their fortunes, prominence and notoriety reverse; she bridles at her confinement and obscurity, he thrives in the limelight. And then ...

A tense noir drama.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2013
Marek Najbrt's Protektor is one of the stupidest movies I have seen in a long time.

It is the story of Hana Vrbata, a self-centered Jewish movie starlet, and her husband, Emil Vrbata, a journalist who works as a radio announcer in Prague.

The Nazis occupy Czechslovakia just as shooting is wrapping up on a film Hana is starring in. On older actor who is Jewish understands how dire the situation is and leaves before the Nazis take over.

He warns Hana and gives her documents for her and her husband to escape to Switzerland.

In the first act of monumental stupidity she burns them up. The second act of monumental stupidity occurs when someone, presemubly the older Jewish actor, sends documents to allow Hana and Emil to flee the country, and Emil burns them up.

It all goes downhill from there moving from stupidity to stupidity.

The film has won awards and has been praised for its stylishness etc.

What bunk. If you like your WWII Nazis-hunt-down-Jews movies extra-stupid you will love Protektor.

Otherwise, settle in for Dumb and Dumber. It will be time better spent.
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