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Marketa Lazarová (1967)

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A minor Czech clan falls afoul of the King in medieval times, against the backdrop of Christianity replacing Paganism.


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Title: Marketa Lazarová (1967)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Josef Kemr ...
Magda Vásáryová ...
Nada Hejna ...
Jaroslav Moucka ...
Frantisek Velecký ...
Karel Vasicek ...
Ivan Palúch ...
Adam 'One-handed'
Martin Mrazek ...
Václav Sloup ...
Pavla Polaskova ...
Alena Pavlíková ...
Michal Kozuch ...
Zdenek Lipovcan ...
Harry Studt ...
Old Count Kristián
Vlastimil Harapes ...
Young Count Kristián


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

footpad | village | dog | snow | wolf | See more »


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Release Date:

24 November 1967 (Czechoslovakia)  »

Also Known As:

Marketa Lazarová  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In a scene where Marketa observes a reindeer in the forest, a herder crew member in denim jacket is visible in the left of the frame on the Blu-Ray DVD version. See more »


Referenced in Vsechnopárty: Episode dated 26 April 2006 (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Two Opposites
18 July 2013 | by (Jyväskylä, Finland) – See all my reviews

Some of the most rewarding film experiences I know of annotate the medium itself, oftentimes than not so elliptically it's almost impossible to see at first. I don't mean Fellini's "8 ½" (1963) or "F for Fake" (1974) and their ilk; these are explicitly self-referential films, not that there's anything wrong in that. The films I am referring to aren't really self-referentially about film on narrative level, rather about something else entirely; they become film allegories by extension, as if in the periphery, accidentally.

"Marketa Lazarová" (1967), so audaciously otherworldly, is a film like that. I've seen it twice now, and slowly it's starting to reveal its riches. The first time around my expectations misled me to approach it as something closer to Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev" (1966), and while there are similarities, the film is so radical it's not that fitting a comparison in my mind.

The backdrop for the film is a profound historical and cultural paradigm shift where Christianity and paganism battle it out. Two opposites, the film can be seen as a poetic exploration of this struggle, and thus as a social document. While interesting, something else speaks to me more. For me the two allegorical forces at play are those of image and sound, and their use in film world, in filmic language. They often go their own ways, images showing us something and the narration swerving to somewhere else altogether, and the complex array of characters and their unorthodox introduction and presentation in the film underline the effect of confusion very powerfully. The overdubbed, echoing dialogue, often out of sync with the image, distracted me on first viewing, but it's unmistakably fitting in the grand scheme of things. Some images are so powerful I can't get them out of my mind (not that I'd want to, mind you!)

And the music! It's the highest compliment I can think of when I say for a film so visually rich that you should not only see it but listen to it. Liska's contribution to the film in some ways contributes to the modest thesis I've been trying to form in so short a space, that is the wonderful interplay of sound and image. Kieslowski's "Trois couleurs: Bleu" (1993) might compare if I wanted to search for something as equally stunning as this.

And I can't write about the film without mentioning the most wonderful sound I've come across in film. It's the convent bell, and one can hear it towards the very beginning, during the revelation and just before the intertitles, I think, and I think it's repeated at least once later on.

All in all, what an experience. We're lucky to have two Blu-rays of the film, the first a Czech Region B, the second a Criterion Region A release. The first one does have English subtitles.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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