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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Details

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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

The monologue that Kopfrkingl (Rudolf Hrusínský) delivers toward the end of the film, he is standing of the Right panel of Hieronymus Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights". There is also a montage of other Bosch paintings including; "Carrying of the Cross", "Ascent of the Blessed" & others. 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

 
one of the world's great films
3 September 2007 | by (California) – See all my reviews

This film is hypnotic. The soothing voice of the lead character, coming out of his cherubic always sweetly smiling face, almost lulls the viewer into a serene calm--if not for the fact that we know in our guts that this is the calm a cobra induces in its prey before the kill. This is, after all, Czechoslovakia on the eve of being taken over by Hitler, and the main character runs a crematorium. We know what is coming next. And yet, we cannot take our eyes from the screen; we are filled with foreboding.

Like the best of Fellini, the director, Juraj Herz, frames virtually every scene perfectly; a collection of stills taken from this black-and-white masterpiece could fill a photographic art gallery with a distinguished collection indeed.

How could the holocaust ever have happened in the middle of the most "civilized" culture in the world, the cradle of elegant music? How could rational "civilized" human beings have abetted this monstrosity? This film provides a fable that can help us answer these most important questions. But do not think this movie is some boring treatise on the banal roots of evil. It is a very entertaining horror film that will keep you spellbound.


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