A man, Jerzy, enters a train set for the Baltic coast. He seems to be on the run from something. He has to share sleeping-compartment with a woman who also seems to be on the run. ... See full summary »
Condemned gunman Clayton is given a last minute reprieve on condition he murders rancher Matthew for a railway company. Visiting Matthew's ranch, Clayton is unable to bring himself to kill ... See full summary »
At a boarding school in the pre-war Austro-Hungarian Empire, a pair of students torture one of their fellow classmates, Basini, who has been caught stealing money from one of the two. The ... See full summary »
Lynn (22) lives with her brother in Berlin. There she enjoys the advantages of family life, without really feeling involved in it. She does not have any precise aim in life, but manages to ... See full summary »
First of all I have to confess that the version I saw was a dubbed German version and this probably helps the film because Lionel Stander best known for his role in HART TO HART is probably the last person in the world you'd employ to portray a former crusader turned monk in 13th century Europe taking the confessions of young teens on the Children's Crusade . Not being up on German accents this gives the film a uniformity that one suspects might be missing in the original English language version
The second point was I had no knowledge whatsoever as to what I expecting . I had vaguely heard on the 13th Century children's crusade that apparently ended in complete disaster but most historians consider this crusade to be a complete work of fiction . I had of course heard of Andrzej Wajda and KANAL remains one of my favourite pieces of European cinema but being a Pole one might prejudge Wajda of being someone who's going to take a genuine ecclesiastical and portray it as historical and spiritual fact . If nothing else it's a warning to never prejudge anyone or anything because this isn't what takes place
Bare in mind this is a totally unknown film . As an IMDb junkie I'd never heard of it and to my knowledge it's never been broadcast on British network television and long before the end titles appear you know why this is . At the centre of the story is a pederast Count Ludovic who has been manipulating two of the key characters to his own ends , namely to satisfy his own sexual desires . We don't get any explicit scenes of child rape but even so it does make for a rather disturbing film which even for 1968 when the Hays Code was becoming increasingly redundant sail very close to the wind
At the heart of the story is a subtext that everyone should be aware of false prophets of whatever philosophical persuasion . Some people will of course view this film as a critique of religion , that all religions are based on myth and legends and this is a film for secular humanists . Indeed it is but one can also view it as a critique on the secular religion of communism where humanity's faith on a doctrine that conditions the concept of greed out of human beings is no less true that a Bronze Age Palestinian Jew being crucified for our sins is . It's notable that two apes follow he Crusade on its travels and perhaps the point is that only human evolution can save humanity for itself
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