For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
598 Ratings

Diamonds of the Night

Démanty noci

Directed by Jan Němec
Czechoslovakia, 1964
War, Drama


Czechoslovakia, World War II. Two young prisoners escape from a concentration camp-bound train. Hungry, poorly dressed and exhausted, they wander in the woods for three days before being captured by local peasants on a charge of stealing bread. Their journey to freedom is suddenly being threatened.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Diamonds of the Night Directed by Jan Němec
Diamonds of the Night, Němec’s startling debut feature, translates the author’s sense of imminent mortality into a vivid atmosphere of free-floating menace that whips up the novel’s mix of real-time experience, memories, and dreams into one heterogenous montage, eschewing any aesthetic cues to delineate the separate planes.
May 09, 2019
Read full article
Its opening images—of two nameless young men sprinting desperately through a field, fleeing from a pack of invisible pursuers as gunshots echo in the near distance—waste no time building momentum or laying down exposition. The effect is startling: it’s as if the film has been playing for an hour already and we, its dozing viewers, were just now snapping back into focus.
November 06, 2013
Read full article
In 64 fleet minutes, we’re utterly and overwhelmingly immersed in a Jewish fugitive’s singular experience, from hunger pains to hallucinatory reveries. Nemec’s technique is as emotionally intuitive as it is masterful, purposefully scrambling past and present, handheld realism (a breathless opening tracking shot) and Buñuellian surrealism (fever-dreamed ants colonizing Jánsky’s angelic face). It’s a torrent of life—and cinema—in the face of death.
November 05, 2013
Read full article

What are people saying?

  • FISCHER's rating of the film Diamonds of the Night

    Souvent filmée caméra à l'épaule, au plus près de l'action, au coeur d'une nature hostile et ingrate, d'un environnement adverse et pesant, Jan Nemec nous propose une oeuvre hallucinée, d'une beauté noire et convulsive dont la fin laisse place à une amère et sourde ambiguïté.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Diamonds of the Night

    It would not be an exaggeration to call this an avant-garde war film: its absence of dialogue (no more I guess than 20 lines) and its erratic, full of syncopes and alternate (the two versions of the narrative) and bracket (the metonymies of tree trunks) syntagmas, camerawork eschews filmic conventions. The terrific tracking shot at the start announces the nightmare to follow; a possible influence on 'Idi i Smotri'.

  • Karl J. Kipling's rating of the film Diamonds of the Night

    Probably I don't like this much for the reasons most folk do: because it strips the context away. Beckett makes a Holocaust film. No mention of Jews, Nazis, or even war, so it becomes merely two young fellows running through the forest from guys with guns, with dream and flashback. M. Atkinson describes this with words like "postmodern," "abstracted," and "ambiguous," meant as praise, but for me that's the trouble.

  • Jason's rating of the film Diamonds of the Night

    There have been no small number of breathtaking restorations made available of late, but to my mind that of DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT represents a new peak, and not only because Němec has meant so much to me for twenty years. A remarkable feat of preservation. The film has Buñuel's ants. There are the two others Bs (Bresson, Bergman). It exists on a continuum between Resnais and Nick Roeg. But it is a singular rapture.

  • saitosouta's rating of the film Diamonds of the Night

    4.5 "Démanty noci" is the magnific proof that Jan Němec is the extraordinary auteur beyond Czech-Slovakian New Wave. Exterminating historical or psychological information at extreme level with elliptical editing, this movie becomes the metaphor of life itself. Chased by amorphous dread and encrosed by infinite voidness, our life plunges into existential devastation and complete darkness. A masterpiece.

  • I.Camera's rating of the film Diamonds of the Night

    Films about the Holocaust often veer into surrealism to avoid the agonies that a more realist depiction would involve, and Nemec's haunting debut is one of the better examples. It's famous for its opening tracking shot and Bunuel-like cutaways to ants and graveyards, but what affected me most was the disturbing sound design, esp. when the boys are apprehended by a band of decrepit, constantly masticating predators.

  • Güven Şahinkanat's rating of the film Diamonds of the Night

    in the end , those collaborationist people killed two young men . They could not escape physically, but their dreams were already gone.this is my opinion... bc when their dreams have shown repeatedly after gun sound ,applause sound started.This was the celebration of death ...A realistic film ends in a surrealistic way which was better than easy pessimistic ending.

  • Robert Orlowski's rating of the film Diamonds of the Night

    The film's almost uncomfortably personal demeanor, found specifically in it's cinematography (but not limited to), creates a harsh aesthetic, which sets the overwhelmingly discordant tone. In turn, the lines between reality and surreality are blurred, allowing the viewer to question whether or not the characters can ever reach the paradise they once knew...Prague.

Related films