In director David Ondříček’s film, “In the Shadow,” a simple jewelry store heist unravels a larger Cold War conspiracy against Czechoslovakian Jews. The story takes the form of a noir political thriller, and was the Czech Republic’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for the 85th Academy Awards.
Honest police detective Jarda Hakl (Ivan Trojan) is asked to investigate a seemingly mundane robbery at a goldsmith’s shop one rainy night in 1950s Prague. When state secret-police suddenly seize control of the case and pin the crime on Jewish immigrants who have been accused of running aid to Israel, Hakl suspects anti-Semitic scapegoating. Waging an uphill battle against both Major Zenke (Sebastian Koch), an East German agent specializing in so-called “Zionist crime,” and the Soviet-corrupted Czech security apparatus, Hakl is dauntless in his quest for the truth, even as it threatens his colleagues, country and family.
Writer-director Ondříček delivers a powerful denouncement of the notorious Jewish Show Trials that condemned many innocent people to death during the Communist era.
“In the Shadow” is the winner of the Directors to Watch Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and nine Czech Academy Awards including Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Film.
“In the Shadow” will have its New York State premiere on Thursday, April 17 at 7:30PM at JCC Rockland in W. Nyack, as part of the 11th JCC Rockland International Jewish Film Festival. Purchasing tickets in advance saves $2, so go to jccrockland.org or call 845-362-4400 x 100.