Jiri Weiss


Best films:
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Before the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, Jiri Weiss (1913) made several documentaries such as Nad Luznici Sviti Slunce/ Sun Is Shining over Luznice (1936). Weiss, a Jew, fled Czechoslovakia after Nazi Germany invaded it and served in the British army as a cinematographer. His entire family was murdered by the Nazis. At the end of the war he returned to Prague and made Uloupena Hranice/ The Stolen Frontier (1947), photographed by Jan Roth, which began his collaboration with composer Jiri Srnka, followed by Dravci/ Raptors (1948), with veteran cinematographer Karel Degl (active since 1917) and music by futurist musician Emil Burian.

His two best films are possibly the ones he made with veteran cameraman Vaclav Hanuš and composer Jiri Srnka: Vlci Jama/ Wolf Trap (1957), about a murky love triangle of hypocritical bourgeois, adapted from Jarmila Glazarova's novel of 1938, and Romeo, Julie a Tma/ Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (1959), an adaptation of Jan Otcenasek's novel in which Juliet is a Jewish girl during the war and Romeo is the student who tries in vain to save her from the Nazis.

Tricet Jedna ve Stinu/ Ninety Degrees in the Shade (1965) was his first English-language film. It retired from cinema in 1967 but ended his career directing Marta a Ja/ Martha and I (1990) 23 years later, when communism was collapsing.

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