This Czech film develops a variation on a classic theme: the struggle for power between master and slave. Kraft, a concentration camp commandant, is a boxer whose career was interrupted by service in the SS. Kominek, a camp inmate, avoids execution by becoming the commandant's sparring partner. Kraft spouts platitudes about "sportsmanship" as the smoke of the incinerators engulfs the camp. Kominek faces a series of existential choices: Should he survive by serving his master? Should he turn on him in the ring? This film is pure poetry and gut-wrenching psychology, at once metaphorical and concrete. Screenplay, music, ensemble acting, and visual style are all brilliant.