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Zelary

4.6 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two very different people meet and fall in love in ZELARY, the Oscar(r)-nominated (Best Foreign Language Film, 2003) romantic epic from director Ondrej Trojan. Eliska, a sophisticated medical student,first meets Joza at a Prague hospital, where her blood saves the injured sawmill worker's life. But Eliska also works with the Czech resistance and when she's betrayed to the Gestapo, Joza agrees tohide the young woman in his romote mountain village of Zelary. Forced to marry the rough-hewn peasant and pose as his wife, Eliska is at first defiant and angry. But with the passing of time, she comes to realize that there's more to Joza than first meets the eye. And so, even as the war rages around them, Eliska and Joza soon find themselves deeply and passionately in love, until an unexpected twist of fate threatens to put their extraordinary romance to the ultimate test.

From the Back Cover

Two very different people meet and fall in love in "Zelary," the Oscar-nominated (Best Foreign Language Film, 2003) romantic epic from director Ondrej Trojan. Eliska, a sophisticated medical student, first meets Joza at a Prague hospital, where her blood saves the injured sawmill worker's life. But Eliska also works with the Czech resistance and when she's betrayed to the Gestapo, Joza agrees to hide the young woman in his romote mountain village of Zelary. Forced to marry the rough-hewn peasant and pose as his wife, Eliska is at first defiant and angry. But with the passing of time, she comes to realize that there's more to Joza than first meets the eye. And so, even as the war rages around them, Eliska and Joza soon find themselves deeply and passionately in love, until an unexpected twist of fate threatens to put their extraordinary romance to the ultimate test.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Anna Geislerova, Gyorgy Cserhalmi, Jaroslav Dusek
  • Directors: Ondrej Trojan
  • Producers: Ondrej Trojan
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Czech
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 148 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006SGYLA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,012 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Zelary" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a film that I would heartly recommend to anyone. It's a perfect film for a Saturday night viewing with friends, at whoever's house has the biggest screen and the best speakers. The cinematography is sweeping and rich, and the score is moving. The story is epic, compelling and romantic (without getting sappy). Other films of this genre that come to mind are 'Cold Mountain' and 'Witness'.

Zelary is also chance to enjoy the work of prolific actresses/actors, most of whose work hardly makes it out of Eastern Europe. Ana Geislerova is currently one of the most popular actresses in the Czech Republic. Geislerova plays Eliska, a the young woman who must hide herself in a small village and to fit in must marry Joza, a sawmill worker whose life she saved with a blood transfusion. She received her 2nd Czech Lion, the Czech Oscar, for this perfomance. Her co-lead, György Cserhalmi (who looks a little like a cross between Harrison Ford and John Wayne), puts in a charismatic perfomance as Joza, the strong, taciturn, mid-50s sawmill worker. Cserhalmi has been one the leading actors in Hungary since the 1980s, performing in over 70 films. He was nominated for a Czech Lion (his 2nd, I think) for his performance in Zelary. As you will know after reading the DVD cover, Eliska and Joza fall in love eventually. The actors' performances are nuanced and *completely* believeable as their relationship changes from awkward and reserved to intimate.

Other reviews capably discuss the plot. Instead I'll review other production aspects and give some other background.

Review of the subtitles and translation

The English subtitles are well-done and accurate.
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2 Comments 67 of 68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Recently, I've particularly enjoyed a couple of films that I'd characterize as "chick flicks". ZELARY is the most recent, following on SHALL WE DANCE. I should schedule an appointment with my Family Practice witchdoctor to have my hormone levels checked. I'll know I'm in dire straits if I become addicted to the Home and Garden TV channel.

It's Nazi-occupied Prague in 1943. Young Eliska (Anna Geislerová) is a nurse in one of the city's hospitals and lover to one of its staff surgeons. In her spare time, she's a courier for the local Resistance. When one of the network is captured by the Gestapo, it's decided to evacuate Eliska to the mountain hamlet of Zelary accompanied by one of its residents, Joza (György Cserhalmi), a much older man that Eliska recently nursed back to health after his injury in a sawmill accident. So that her sanctuary in the village seems natural, and in order that she be accepted by the other inhabitants, Eliska and Joza wed. For the city-bred and sophisticated Eliska, her marriage in this rustic place is hardly an act of love. While Jozy is a good and kind man, he's also a rural bumpkin, who lives in a dirt-floor cabin without electricity, running water, or an indoor loo; he doesn't even take regular baths.

As you would correctly infer from the title of this review, this alliance of necessity turns into a love affair. The charm of this beautifully photographed film is that the story unfolds without the saccharine sweetness of a fairy tale romance. Indeed, after two years in the mountains, by which time the area is, um, "liberated" by advancing Soviet troops, Eliska experiences both the sublime and sordid facets of human communal existence anywhere.
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4 Comments 46 of 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The love story about two utterly different individuals speaks volumes about the human condition. Eliska is a well educated woman who under normal circumstances would have little to do with Joza, a mere sawmill worker who lives in a small house with a dirt floor and no indoor plumbing. The man does not own a single book nor reading material of any kind. It is doubtful if he can even read at the level expected of a grade school graduate. Alas, this is wartime and the Nazis are searching for Eliska because of her involvement in the resistance. Hiding in the Czech boondocks and marrying the socially inferior Joza is her only viable alternative. She eventually learns to love him and make the best of a less than ideal situation. The term culture shock most appropriately describes Eliska's challenge to be accepted by those who perceive her to both be an outsider and a risk to their own safety. Nazi soldiers, as expected, don't hesitate to kill those who hide enemies of the Third Reich. Will Eliska be betrayed? Can her relationship with the villagers ever become warm and intense? We observe the process unfold over a period of a few years. Anyone who enjoys romantic stories must see Zelary. It may very well be ranked among your favorites of all time. Yes, it is that good of a movie. You should not be disappointed.

One wonders why it is so difficult to find a copy of Zelary's music score. It is among the best I've heard in years. Could it be due to the fact that few Czech films are imported to the United States? Whatever, I hope this might be rectified in the near future.
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