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Kopfrkingl enjoys his job at a crematorium in Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s. He likes reading the Tibetan book of the dead, and espouses the view that cremation relieves earthly suffering. At a reception, he meets Reineke, with whom he fought for Austria in the first World War. Reineke convinces Kopfrkingl to emphasize his supposedly German heritage, including sending his timid son to the German school. Reineke then suggests that Kopfrkingl's half-Jewish wife is holding back his advancement in his job. Written by
This movie tries to be a delicious and outrageous black comedy, but fails miserably.
In order to find this movie funny, you would have to be someone who finds the mere mention of funeral cremation to be delightfully wicked and naughty. I suppose such people exist, but I doubt they are in any great number.
The thing that makes this film especially irritating, apart from all the black humor that falls flat, is that Rudolf Hrusínský, the actor who plays the lead Kopfrkingl character, is in one's face, one way or another during every second of the film. He is present either on screen or in voice over narration almost constantly. And he is far from a pleasant or charming person. This movie is a lot like being stuck at some family get together and having to listen to your obnoxious, over weight uncle try to be charming and funny for hours. For me, this movie was a real ordeal.
On the upside, some of the outdoor camera shots were nice. The tableau that the crematorium and its grounds made was pleasantly creepy and other-worldly. But that's all.
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