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Wed January 16, 2002
Dark Blue World
A salute to Czech WWII fighter pilot heroes...
By Clay Lowe, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
They do make movies the way they used to, only it's the Czechs who are doing it.
First we had "Kolya," which won director Jan Sverak an Academy Award in 1996; then we have Jan Hrebejk's "Divided We Fall," and now we have Sverak's newest film, "Dark Blue World."
Gloriously photographed and set in the nostalgic days of WWII -- an era that's recently all the rage, "Dark Blue World" is the story of a small group of Czech fighter pilots who flee to England in the wake of Hitler's invasion of their homeland. Offering their services to the Royal Air Force, they end up, of course, being among the heroes of the Battle of Britain.
There's plenty of action in "Dark Blue World," including many dramatically staged and photographed air battles every bit as good as anything in "Pearl Harbor." There's a touching love triangle that tests the friendship of two of the flyers -- who happen to be in love with the same woman. And there's skillfully integrated flash forwards in a Soviet prison camp where the pilots are sent when they return home, not as heroes but as men considered dangerous by their new invaders, the Russians.
Great photography. Touching romances. And tragic irony. "Dark Blue World" is every bit as slick, and twice as convincing, as "Pearl Harbor," but why do you suppose it will never get on the radar at the multiplexes? Because,
mainstream U.S. audiences just won't go to see subtitled films, no matter how good they are.
Too bad for them, and too bad for us.The whole world sees our movies, but we don't see theirs. Perhaps it's time to include "Reading Subtitles" among the virtues taught in our public schools. Ignorance can kill these days.
Offical Czech site : "Dark Blue World"
Clay Lowe co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time" and programs the film series at the Columbus Museum of Art.