Protektor is a stylish and handsome film about a relationship held together by petty insecurities.
Before the Nazi occupation of Czechoslavkia, Hana (Jana Plodková) was a burgeoning screen star. Her piercing eyes, singing ability and beauty were going to take her far. Emil (Marek Daniel) her husband, is a reporter for the local radio station and insecure about her notoriety. Hana is always in the forefront while Emil is relegated to the periphery.
The roles are switched when the Germans occupy Prague. Hana’s career is cut short due to her Jewish background. She essentially becomes a prisoner in her own home. Emil’s career grows much stronger. During World War II, the radio was the prime mode of propaganda, due to its ability to communicate to the masses. The Nazis take control of Emil’s radio station. They cull the unsympathetic broadcasters and Emil rises from reporter to radio personality. This reversal
The Nazis like how amendable Emil is. They offer to help him by ignoring his Jewish wife in return for him being their mouthpiece. He reluctantly goes along, believing it’s for his wife. It sounds so noble, but when you look deeper, you wonder why these two people are in a relationship at all. Both characters are flawed and selfish, looking only to gratify their own desires. Somehow they’ve fooled themselves into thinking they love each other.
The acting, costume design, cinematography were very good but the film’s challenge is the story and direction. You can understand where Marek Najbrt the director was heading with the film but it was middling in its execution. The mistakes are in it’s portrayal of the couple’s relationship. I just couldn’t buy it or the characters motivations for staying in it.
In order for the film to work, it needed more passion. There was just enough to like but not enough to hate or love.