For his first feature Jan Němec collaborated with the classic Czech writer Arnošt Lustig, adapting his autobiographical story Darkness Casts No Shadow. Two Jewish teenagers escape the train that is taking them to a concentration camp – only to be persecuted and hunted by a group of old Germans, whose bloody job is just a mechanical routine defined by Hannah Arendt as "the banality of evil".
The film's austerity and expressionism recall Bresson's A Man Escaped that indeed partly inspired Němec. However, Diamonds of the Night is a distinct masterpiece in its own right. It's also one of the most fascinating film debuts ever. Its subjective and at the same time observational camera, elliptic editing, minimalist sound as well as both narrative and non-narrative compositions free the film from the canons of realism and turn it into a visceral sensory experience. Pure visionary cinema that never distinguishes between dreams and shadows.Screened in combination with A Loaf of Bread and Arnošt Lustig Through the Eyes of Jan Němec

Original title
Démanty noci
Filmmaker
Jan Němec
Country
Czechoslovakia
Year
1964
Medium
35mm
Length
63’
Language
Czech
Producer
Miloš Bergl
Production Company
Československý Filmexport
Sales
Národní filmový archív
Writer
Jan Němec, Arnošt Lustig
Cinematography
Jaroslav Kučera, Miroslav Ondříček
Editor
Miroslav Hájek
Production Design
Oldřich Bosák
Sound Design
František Černý
Music
Vlastimil Hála, Jan Rychlík
Cast
Ladislav Janský, Antonín Kumbera, Ilse Bischofová, Ivan Asič, August Bischof, Jan Říha