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Voted the best Czech film ever made, František Vláčil’s groundbreaking 13th-century epic is a story of a fierce inter-clan rivalry and doomed love.
Director: Frantisek Vlácil
Voted the best Czech film ever made, Vláčil’s groundbreaking 13th century epic is a story of a fierce inter-clan rivalry and the doomed love affair between Mikoláš Kozlík and Markéta Lazarová which evokes comparison with directors as diverse as Bergman and Kurosawa. In adapting Vladimír Vančura’s experimental novel, Vláčil aimed to create the psychology of a past age, even drawing on anthropological studies, forcing viewers to experience the atmosphere of a distant past with uncommon intensity. Using black and white widescreen cinematography, an unorthodox structure, a variety of different narrative techniques underscored by Zdeněk Liška´s music, Vláčil focuses on the evocation of the struggle between Christianity and paganism, humankind and nature, love and violence, creating a multi-layered poetic parable about the tragedy and sublimity of human destiny. A powerful and passionate film, its battery of poetics and associational effects create a visual style unique in the history of Czech cinema.
The 4K digital restoration is by the Národní filmový archív, Prague. Part of the 25th Made in Prague Festival, 7 November – 10 December 2021, organised by the Czech Centre London.