Marketa Lazarova

1967 Czech film, the greatest ever apparently

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Feuding clans deal with a pissed-off king. Romance develops. Wolves!

Of course I have to watch the greatest Czechoslovakian film ever made! It's a long movie, and for reasons that I can't figure out, the story was very fragmented. I wasn't sure why this story had to be disjointed because I didn't think it added anything to the proceedings.

The movie's a little boring at times, mostly because it's really fucking long, but Frantisek Vlacil does some incredible things with visuals and sound. The sound is relentless, never has choral music sounded so oppressively brutal. It blends with the visions of snow and wolves and violence and nipples so well while at the same time clashing with it all. The audio experience actually gives this a psychedelic feel even though there's nothing really trippy about anything that happens on the screen.

I liked a lot of the performances. Frantisek Velecky plays a guy with a scarred head, and I thought he was great. And no, that's not the director. It's a different Frantisek. One of the writers of this is also named Frantisek, so I assume that was a popular name or some sort of prank the makers of this were playing on everybody. Josef Kemr is the closest thing to a main character this movie has even though it's named after a different character, and he's also really good. And Magda Vasaryova plays that title character superbly, a mix of virgin innocence and naive curiosity.

The real star of the show is all the snow.

This is the sort of movie that can haunt a person. The visuals mesmerize, and the brutality of these characters, even though they exist in a never-defined past, feel like they could be living in modern times. I wish I connected to what was happening a little more, and I wish the story wasn't so fragmented.

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