Marketa Lazarova (1967)

FRANTISEK VLACIL

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Czechoslovakia, 1967.  Filmové studio Barrandov.  Screenplay by , Frantisek Vlacil, based on the novel by . Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

A fascinating experience and an absolute challenge from beginning to end, though don’t take that to mean you should hesitate to watch this curious masterpiece.  It’s a truly unique venture about warring clans in medieval Europe, a collection of gorgeously shot images of battlefields and dirty hamlets populated by desperation and fear.  There’s something involving a German King taking revenge on a Czech village for their kidnapping one of his citizens, and a villager who kidnaps another man’s daughter (of the title) to convince him to join him in war against the monarch.  That’s not how easily it plays out, however, but don’t worry, the visual phantasmagoria is of the Andrei Rublev type, and the overall strangeness, effectively capturing a world changing from pagan to Christian, is to be felt and not understood.

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