Blu-Ray Review: Diamonds of the Night

In a period blighted by massacres, brutality and war, without doubt the lowest point in human history was the Holocaust. Looking back through time it seems almost unimaginable that human beings could stoop so low. Whilst Hollywood has tackled the subject in high profile films such as The Pianist, Schindler’s List and Sophie’s Choice, there have been hundreds and thousands of celluloid responses from across the world. It’s a subject Czech director Jan Němec chose to tackle for in film debut Diamonds of the Night.

Two teenage boys (Ladislav Jánský and Antonín Kumbera) manage to escape from a train which is transporting prisoners between concentration camps. They flee for their lives with only the clothes on their backs and their official prison coats to keep them warm. They must evade their pursuers across harsh terrain whilst battling the elements and trying to find food, drink and shelter in a war-ravaged hinterland.

Diamonds of the Night is a thrilling tale of survival, dehumanisation and coming-of-age in Nazi-occupied Europe. Němec’s uses almost no dialogue, allowing the confusion, chaos and desperation of the two young men to tell its own story. Using a mix of flashbacks, hallucinations and flights of fancy, Diamonds of the Night builds up a history around these escapees. It’s a tense, disturbing and exhilarating film which illustrates the horror as if we’re witnessing it with our own eyes.

Special Edition Contents:

• Presented from a new 4K restoration of the film from original materials by the Czech National Film Archive.
• A Loaf of Bread (Sousto) – Jan Nemec’s 1960 debut short film based on the story by Arnošt Lustig.
• New filmed interview with Eva Lustigová, daughter of author Arnošt Lustig.
• Audio commentary by film historian Michael Brooke.
• An appreciation of the film by Peter Hames.
• Trailer (2018).
• 20-page booklet featuring Michael Brooke’s essay on the film.
• World Premiere on Blu-ray.
• Region Free Blu-ray (A/B/C).

The new 4k restoration of Diamonds of the Night is released on Blu-Ray by Second Run on January 21.

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