Diamonds of the Night

Diamonds of the Night

Directed by Jan Němec • 1964 • Czechoslovakia
Starring Ladislav Janský, Antonín Kumbera

With this simultaneously harrowing and lyrical debut feature, Jan Němec established himself as the most uncompromising visionary among the radical filmmakers who made up the Czechoslovak New Wave. Adapted from a novel by Arnošt Lustig, DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT closely tracks two boys who escape from a concentration-camp transport and flee into the surrounding woods, hostile terrain where the brute realities of survival coexist with dreams, memories, and fragments of visual poetry. Along with visceral camera work by Jaroslav Kučera and Miroslav Ondříček—two of Czechoslovak cinema’s most influential cinematographers—Němec makes inventive use of fractured editing, elliptical storytelling, and flights of surrealism as he strips context away from this bare-bones tale, evoking the panicked delirium of consciousness lost in night and fog.

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Diamonds of the Night
  • Diamonds of the Night

    Directed by Jan Němec • 1964 • Czechoslovakia
    Starring Ladislav Janský, Antonín Kumbera

    With this simultaneously harrowing and lyrical debut feature, Jan Němec established himself as the most uncompromising visionary among the radical filmmakers who made up the Czechoslovak New Wave. Adapted fro...

Extras

  • Jan Němec

    In the following segment from a 2009 interview, director Jan Němec discusses attending Famu Film School in Prague and making DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT.

  • Irena Kovarova

    In the following interview, recorded in 2018 in New York, film programmer and Czechoslovak film expert Irena Kovarova discusses the importance of DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT within the Czechoslovak New Wave.

  • Five Influences on 'Diamonds'

    In the following video essay, created in 2018, film scholar James Quandt examines the style of DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT.

  • A Loaf of Bread

    Director Jan Němec's graduation film, A Loaf of Bread (Sousto), was filmed in 1960 and based on a story by Arnošt Lustig, also the author of the novel on which DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT is based.

  • Arnošt Lustig Through the Eyes of Jan Němec

    In this fourteen-minute film from 1993, director Jan Němec pays tribute to author Arnošt Lustig, whose work he adapted for Loaf of Bread and DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT.