Editor's note: This year's Starz Denver Film Festival, November 12-22, features more than 200 films. To help navigate this cinematic abundance of riches, we asked fest artistic director Brit Withey to highlight some worthy selections off the beaten screening-room path. Look for Brit's Picks each weekday through the extravaganza's close.
Brit Withey's description of Protector, aka Protektor, on view at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. today at the Starz FilmCenter (the second screening is sold out, but rush tickets may be available an hour before showtime), initially sounds like a variation on Mel Brooks' The Producers. "There's some really interesting use of music and dance -- but it's about the Nazi invasion of the Czech Republic," he says.
This time around, though, there's no springtime for Hitler. "It's a very serious film," he stresses.
Written and directed by Marek Najbrt, Protector looks at "backroom dealings, and the ways people get through the war by doing favors -- the lengths people went to survive during that time period," Withey notes.
As for the musical sequences, "Some of the main characters are actors who've just finished shooting one film and are in the midst of shooting another one," he explains. "They're performers, and the movie cuts back and forth between sequences of them on a sound stage working and looking very glamorous and then the more dark times of their real lives, where they're just trying to live through the day."
The result, Withey says, "is very, very stylish all the way through" -- a comment borne out by the trailer below: