|This dramatic story of a hero against his will is
set in a small Czech town occupied by German forces during the last years
of the Second World War.
Josef and Marie Cizek are a childless couple. She yearns for
a baby, but unfortunately her husband is sterile. By chance
one day they come across a young Jewish man named David, and
they offer him refuge in their home. From that moment they begin
a dramatic fight for survival.
To divert the attention of the German authorities and thereby
protect the whole street from the danger of execution, the couple
becomes more and more entangled with the representatives of
power and arbitrary rule. To make matters worse, Czech-German
Horst Prohaska, a Nazi collaborator, often comes to see Marie,
and his frequent visits increase the danger of David being discovered.
During one tragicomic scene, Marie sternly refuses the repeated
advances of this unsavory parasite, and Prohaska decides to
take revenge on the Cizeks. He plans to move a Nazi official,
Albrecht Kepke, into the room the Cizeks had planned for their
To prevent this from happening, Cizek persuades his wife to
become pregnant by their hidden fugitive. In this rather paradoxical
way, David repays his debt to those who have saved his life.
The story culminates in May 1945 when the baby is about to
be born. The family is once again threatened-this time by self-appointed
judges and those who want to punish Nazi collaborators.
In the closing, bizarrely absurd scene a strange gathering
of Fates stands around the new-born child: a Czech soldier who
fought in the Soviet Union, a Russian front-line soldier, a
Slovak partisan, the Jewish refugee David, the Czech-German
Horst Prohaska and Cizek, the new 'father' and hero against
his will. . . .
Divided We Fall is a black comedy full of unexpected
twists which tells a tale of heroes motivated by compassion,
of decent people and traitors, of apathetic passivity and the
thirst for life. In this story based on real events, lives are
saved for a wide variety of (sometimes controversial) reasons,
and all the main characters manage to survive. Here, heroism
and collaboration, generosity and cowardice overlap, making
it difficult, if not impossible, to pass categorical judgments.