Divided We Fall

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: -2

As WWII escalates, Czechs must decide whether to collaborate with their Nazi oppressors or defy them. Josef (Boleslav Polivka) and Marie (Anna Siskova) are forced to choose when David (Csongor Kassai), the son of Josefs Jewish former boss, escapes from a concentration camp and needs refuge. Their nosy, Nazi-collaborator friend Horst (Jaroslav Dusek) frequently drops by to indulge his infatuation with Marie, so hiding David is a dangerous proposition. At Horsts urging, , Josef takes a job with the Nazi party to avoid suspicion. But when his Nazi boss needs a place to live, to prevent his moving in, Josef says Marie is pregnant and they will need their extra room. The infertile Josef then urges Marie to let David get her pregnant so their lie will not be uncovered and the Nazis will not take their lives. As the war ends and Marie goes into labor, Josef scrambles to prove he was not a Nazi collaborator, but a loyal Czech who even harbored a Jew. Americans may find the directors experimentation with film speed more annoying than artistic. Much of the impact of this English-subtitled film may be lost in translation, but overall, fans of WWII films will enjoy this suspenseful tale.

Josef and Marie’s compassion and courage in caring for David is inspiring. Yet the film’s most questionable element comes when Josef, instead of trusting in God for protection, concocts a lie and encourages his wife to have sex with David, despite her tearful objections. Josef’s decision is portrayed as heroic under the circumstances, with no negative consequences. In fact, the results are seemingly positive - the barren couple has a child and they avoid persecution or death at the hands of the Nazis. Whether Joesph's decision is morally and Biblically acceptable is something Christians will view differently. Another questionable element occurs when a painting of the Virgin Mary’s face transforms into Marie’s, which is slightly confusing since Marie’s conception was not exactly virgin. Marie also prays to the painting of the Virgin Mary frequently. Crude language and obscenities are few, but profanities occur frequently in the subtitles. Strong profanity is certainly objectionable and, with the morally debatable portrayal of Marie’s conception, DIVIDED WE FALL becomes controversial and creates a topic for debate.

Preview Reviewer: John Barber
Sony Pictures Classics, 550 Madison Ave., 8th Flr., New York, NY 10022

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (6) times - Mild 3, moderate 3

Obscene Language: Few (2) times - S-word

Profanity: Many (14) times - Exclamatory 5 (OMG 2, OG, MG, good G) Regular 9 (G, GD 5, J, JC, for Gs sake)

Violence: Several times Mild and moderate (woman knees man in groin, implied beating of Nazi collaborators, man commits suicide off-screen - body shown, children slap Nazi official, machine-gun fire, man shakes young son/ calls him an idiot)

Sex: Implied once off-screen (married woman becomes pregnant by man not her husband)

Nudity: Few times (picture of nude on wall); Near nudity - Few times (woman in nightgown; womans raised skirt shows underwear from rear)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (Man suggests nurse help produce sperm sample, man attempts rape of woman)

Drugs: Cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking; men become drunk

Other: Woman prays to Virgin Mary, image of Virgin Mary transforms into female character, ethnic slur for Jews used

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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