Set in World War II, a demented cremator believes cremation relieves earthly suffering and sets out to save the world.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Lakmé / Dagmar
Jana Stehnová ...
Zina
Milos Vognic ...
Mili
Zora Bozinová ...
Reinkeová
...
Walter Reinke
...
Bettleheim
...
Dvorák
...
Hloupá zena
...
Manzel hloupé zeny
Jirí Lír ...
Strauss
Václav Stekl ...
Hudebník / rozhodcí boxu / majitel panoptika
...
Bledá dívka
...
Nacista ve smokingu
...
Zena dozadující se rakvicky
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Storyline

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 Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

14 March 1969 (Czechoslovakia)  »

Also Known As:

The Cremator  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Czechoslovakia's official submission to 42nd Academy Award's Foreign Language in 1970. See more »

Goofs

Interiors, fashion and hairstyle are in some cases obviously from the sixties... See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Kopfrkingl: My sweet. This is the blessed spot where we met 17 years ago. Only the leopard is new. Kind nature long ago relieved the other of his shackles. You see, dear, I keep talking of nature's benevolence, of merciful fate, of the kindness of God. We judge and criticize others, rebuke them. But what about ourselves? I always have the feeling that I do so little for you.
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Connections

Featured in 23. Ceský lev (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

New World Symphony Op. 95 - Largo
Composed by Antonín Dvorák
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User Reviews

 
Czech New Wave Grotesque
10 May 2013 | by (Europe) – See all my reviews

In contrast to most other reviewers the film worked not very well for me. Probably because I watched it only for educational reasons not because I have a liking for this kind of films. So anybody interested in this kind of film should take my reactions as one of the uninitiated.

I think "The Cremator (1968)" is a very black comedy with some weak horror elements (there are no shock elements but some genre situations generating a very slight nightmare feeling). The humour is of a kind about which I cannot laugh. Others obviously can. It is a grotesque more than anything else.

Acting is a lot more unconvincing for me than in "Man of Straw (1951)" or "Vital (2004)" {films I felt reminded of}; the film obviously plays in the late sixties (inferred from female make-up and the whole feeling) though it is meant to play in the 1930s. Also in this respect "Man of Straw" is far more convincing. I liked some of the visualisations and some script ideas of "The Cremator" (for instance the protagonist's love for the Tibetan Book of Dead and Tibetan Lamaism).

In comparison with the rather good "Vital (2004)" by Shin'ya Tsukamoto the Czech film feels much weaker to me (in atmosphere, characterisation, direction) and less well constructed. It's for certain not a bad film, but also nothing I would recommend with conviction. Thus it gets 6/10 from me.


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