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USA: Sony Pictures Classics
Cast: Anna Geislerova, György Cserhalmi, Jaroslava Adamova, Miroslav Donutil, Jaroslav Dušek, Iva Bittova, Ivan Trojan, Jan Hrušinský, Ondrej Koval, Juraj Hreka, Edita Malovcic, Michael Hofbauer, Jan Tøiska, Imre Boraroš, Reinhard Simonischek, Tomaš ateeka, Anieka Věrtelaøova
Director: Ondrej Trojan
Countries: Czech Republic / Slovakia / Austria
Languages: Czech / Russian / German (English subtitles)
USA: 150 mins
USA Rated: R for violence and some sexual content
USA Release Date: 17 September 2004 (Limited Release)
It is the 1940s and the Czech lands have been occupied by the Nazis. Eliška is a young woman who was unable to complete medical school because the Germans closed the universities and now works as a nurse in a city hospital. She is also involved in the resistance movement along with her lover, the surgeon Richard, and their friend Dr. Chladek.
One night, a man from a rural mountain area is brought to the hospital with serious injuries and desperately needs a transfusion. Eliška is the only one with the same blood type. Her blood saves his life and a connection is formed between the two that in the course of the story becomes an extraordinarily strong relationship between the modern, cosmopolitan, and educated Eliška and the barbaric, salt-of-the-earth man with the soul of a child, Joza.
The resistance group that the doctors are involved in is discovered and hunted by the Gestapo their lives are suddenly threatened. While Eliška's lover, Richard, flees the country overnight, the group quickly has to find a different safe haven for her. They ask Joza, the patient whose life Eliška saved with her blood, to hide her in his remote mountain cabin. Eliška is forced to leave her urban life and all at once become a new woman: Hana, the wife of a mountain man. Her new home is a wild mountain village where time stopped 150 years ago called Zelary.
ZELARY tells the story of a clash between two different worlds and two different people. It is the story of an extraordinary relationship, of fear, misgivings, suspicion and especially of the love that forms out of antagonism between Eliška/Hana and Joza; a love born of the common will to survive.
ZELARY is also the story of a beautiful corner of the Earth where everything lives in accordance with nature and her often cruel and timeless laws that humans must adapt to and honor. Eliška, in spite of setbacks, but with great fervor, tries to learn this. Last but not least, ZELARY is also a dramatic story filled with unexpected twists of fate that takes place in a God-forsaken part of Europe surrounded by the storm of war.