7 March 2014

DVD Review: Transport from Paradise (1963)

Drama, War, World Cinema
Second Run
Rating: 15
DVD Release Date:
10th March 2014(UK)
Zbynek Brynych
Zdenek Stepánek, Ilja Prachar, Jirí Vrstála
Buy:Transport from Paradise (Transport z ráje) [DVD]

Transport from Paradise is the latest film released by Second Run who specializes in bringing the best of Czech cinema in the UK. It’s directed by Zbynĕk Brynych and co-writted by holocaust survivor Asnost Lustig based on his own experiences. The film has been little seen if it at all in the English speaking countries in the last 40 years since it’s release.

The film is very much about numbers and statistics cause it’s about the Jewish community of Theresienstadt and it concerns the fate of them under the Nazis who are just really murderous clerks. Theresienstadt is a concentration camp that is made to look like the Jews are being treated well for the Danish Red Cross who has came to inspect it. In reality it’s just a gap for the Jews before they are gassed at Auschwitz.

The film’s most striking scene came near the beginning of Jews being forced to make a propaganda film about how well it is under the Nazis’ control. When I was watching this scene I couldn’t believe this happened but after a quick google search it did and all the Jewish crew were gassed on arrival at Auschwitz. That film is titled Theresienstadt and most of it’s lost but 20 minutes have survived and was directed by Kurt Gerron who starred in the classic film The Blue Angel.

The film is not without it’s faults and it drags quite a lot in the middle cause there is no real protagonist to identify with. It wonders aimlessly at times though different stories of the Nazis and Jews in the town which can becomes confusing but it really picks up pace near the end. It ends really a truly haunting scene of the Jews stepping foot on the transport to paradise, a ironic title if there ever was one. It’s a much better and realer film than the overrated Schindler’s List.


Ian Schultz

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