Moments Of Decision
, 99min, slOmeU
After fleeing from Czechoslovakia via the Federal Republic of Germany to Yugoslavia and directing his first Yugoslavian (Slovenian) film VESNA (1953), which locals still celebrate as the greatest national romantic comedy, František Čap turned his attention to the darkest chapter of World War II in Yugoslavia. The bitter truth here was that vast segments of the population did not join the partisan resistance and opted to collaborate with the occupying forces instead, with this betrayal carrying bitter consequences. After the war, the new government promptly executed tens of thousands of collaborators who did not manage to flee the country in time. These extrajudicial killings were an official secret in Yugoslavia, so it is all the more impressive that a film made in 1955 already tackled this national divide. TRENUTKI ODLOČITVE tells a story of a doctor who must choose sides. He decides to help transport a wounded partisan from his care in the hospital to the forest, where other partisans await. In order to break out of a guarded hospital, the good doctor must kill a young Home Guard (anti-partisan) soldier, only to run into the soldier’s heartbroken father a few hours later, meaning fateful decisions must be made on the spot once again. TRENUTKI ODLOČITVE may be an allegory, but it is still remarkably effective in offering a solution for a national reconciliation, not to mention the fact that the masterful Čap absolutely shines in creating a nail-biting atmosphere of suspense and uncertainty. A proper partisan noir.
With an introduction by Peter Stankovič.