Mikolás and his brother Adam rob travelers for their tyrannical father Kozlík. During one of their "jobs" they end up with a young German hostage whose father escapes to return news of the kidnapping and robbery to the King. Kozlik prepares for the wrath of the King, and sends Mikolás to pressure his neighbor Lazar to join him in war. Persuasion fails, and in vengeance Mikolás abducts Lazar's daughter Marketa, just as she was about to join a convent. The King, meantime, dispatches an army and the religious Lazar will be called upon to join hands against Kozlik. Stripped-down, surreal, and relentlessly grimy account of the shift from Paganism to Christianity. Written by
Joyojeet Pal <email@example.com>
I've only seen this movie once, in a restored print at a film festival a few years back; it's apparently not available on video in the US, which is a real shame. It's a medieval epic, basically about the clash between the old pagan world and the emerging Christian one, but there's a lot more to it than that. Visually, it's nearly as stunning as *Andrei Rublev* (and a good bit faster-paced); some of the images - wolves roaming the barren forests, horsemen in snowstorms - will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I'll admit that I'm a sucker for gloomy, wintry European art movies, especially if they work some bloody sword-fights in, too, but this is one of the overlooked Great Movies ...
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