František Vláčil| Czechoslovakia 1967, 162 minutes |
7pm, Thursday 21 July
Rediscovering this extraordinary film should renew our sense of the possibilities of cinema today. – Tom Gunning, Criterion
Nowadays often proclaimed the greatest Czech film ever made, this dense, hallucinatory medieval epic, pitting clan against clan and Christians against Pagans, is a nearly three-hour long rush of indelible, high contrast, black-and-white ’Scope imagery, shot with an ever prowling camera, edited furiously and constantly switching between objective and subjective points-of-view. Trying to keep up with the labyrinthine plot — even if its dizzying twists and turns are telegraphed in ornately worded chapter headings — is secondary to giving in to the film’s experiential potency, as Vláčil’s painstaking insistence on 13th-century period exactitude and hardscrabble brutality is raised, by stunning atmospherics inclusive of a majestic Zdeněk Liška choral-electronic score, to the order of the sublime. Starring the luminous Magda Vášáryová as the eponymous Marketa.
A giant shambling bear of a film, Marketa Lazarová, along with Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev and Eduard Grečner’s Dragon’s Return, marks out the distinctly ‘60s European approach to the middle ages with sharp contrast between high modernist filmmaking and the thick textures of steel, fur, rust and ice.
Co-Presented with The Czech and Slovak Film Festival.
D František Vláčil S František Vláčil and František Pavlícek from Vladislav Vancura P Josef Ouzky C Bedrich Batka E Miroslav Hájek
Language: Czech and German with English Subtitles
Distribution: National Film Archive DCP
Unrated 18 +