CODE NAME RUBY (JMENO KODU: RUBIN) (director/writer: Jan Nemec; screenwriter: Iva Ruszeláková; cinematographer: F.A. Brabec; editor: Sárka Nemcová; music: Jan Hammer; cast: Jan Potmesil (Michal), Lucie Rejchrtová (Ruby); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Martin Kopriva/Iva Ruszeláková; Facets; 1997–Czechoslovakia-in Czech with English subtitles)
“The unusual film works as a curio.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
New Wave Czech filmmaker Jan Nemec (“Pearls of the Deep”/”Late Night Talks With Mother”/”Report on the Party and the Guests”) directs this made for Czech TV film, an experimental film blending documentary and archival footage with fiction. After a space-shuttle out of Houston observes an unidentified object and gives it the code name Ruby, two youngsters, Michal and Ruby (Jan Potmesil & Lucie Rejchrtová), from Prague, meet and fall in love, as they frolic about in a playful manner exploring why their city is known to hold the ancient seat for the practice of alchemy. The youngsters follow the trail of the mystical philosopher’s stone by telling of the 16th century English alchemists John Dee and Edward Kelly, of how the Nazis tried to steal the alchemists’ secrets, how the Americans bombed the Prague church that hid the secrets from their Nazi occupiers and how strange things happened to those who tried to get the philosopher’s stone (i.e., General Patton dying in a freakish car accident).
The unusual film, with beautiful montage sequences, works as a curio, but is geared for a limited audience. It states that ‘eye contact signals the beginning of life.’ The film’s most playful line has Ruby declaring: “I’d rather lie to a man than to be true to a corpse.” If that strikes your fancy, this film might be right up your alley.
REVIEWED ON 5/23/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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