The Boxer and Death

Boxer a smrť
Director: Peter Solan

Czechoslovakia, drama, 1963, 120 min

Kraft is a bored-to-death commandant at a Nazi concentration camp. In the belief that he’s a born pugilist, he begins searching for a sparring partner. The search seems futile until he finds among the prisoners Jan Kominek, a former professional boxer. The prisoner’s situation changes overnight: he unwillingly becomes a privileged person, the commandant’s boxing partner. Kominek accepts the rules of the game hoping to escape the oven and to help his friends and... but is it possible? This picture is a brave look at a human degradation during fascist rule, yet the questions raised by Peter Solan, the director, are still relevant to today’s viewers. “The Boxer and Death” is an original view of one of humanity’s cruellest experiences: a concentration camp.

About the director:

Peter Solan was born in 1929, in Slovakia (then Czechoslovakia). After graduating in Prague 1953, he came back to Bratislava. Honesty and bravery, two of his most prominent creative aspects which he used to tackle social issues, could already be seen at the beginning of his career. Instead of delicately entering the film industry, P. Solan was noticed by the communist functionaries as an artist who wouldn’t be silenced because of his first film – “The Devil Doesn’t Sleep” (Čert nespí, 1956). And because of that earnestness his works have been appreciated at film festivals all over the world. “The Boxer and Death” is one of his most famous works, brilliantly reflecting the timeless virtues honoured in Peter Solan’s creations.

Section: Films of the Golden Period: Slovak New Wave

Screenplay: Józef Hen, Tibor Vichta, Peter Solan

Dir. of Photography: Tibor Biath

Music: Wiliam Bukový

Cast: Štefan Kvietik, Manfred Krug, Valentína Thielová, Józef Kondrat, Edwin Marian, Gerhard Rachold, Jindřich Narenta, Edmunt Ogrodziński, Janusz Bobek