A bust of Stalin is cut open on an operating table, leading to an elaborate animated depiction of Czech history from 1948 (the Communist takeover) to 1989 (the Velvet Revolution). Some ... See full summary »
Watching this, I was stunned such a place exists. To be perfectly honest, I didn't know the meaning of the word "ossuary," but I do now. This is the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic and, I guarantee you, a place unlike any you have ever seen.
For history of this amazing shrine, if you will, please read Galina's review here. She seems well-versed on the topic.
To see a building, an old chapel, with 70,000 skulls and human bones in it, arranged "artistically," is really eerie, wouldn't you say? It looks even stranger with Czech filmmaker Jan Swankmejer's grainy black-and-white photography, and how he presents what is there.
In the background we hear a woman giving a tour to students. We never see her or the kids, but we hear her throughout. She sounds as odd as this place and almost gets hysterical in the end when she thinks some kid might have handled one of the bones. She says she's worked there for a year-and-a-half and she feels a kinship with these bones, looking at them (my words, not hers) as if they are still alive and she is protecting them. That's how she comes across.
Anyway, the "story" is not her but this incredible place with skulls and complete skeletons all over - floors, walls, ceilings....everywhere you see in this big chapel. Most of these people died horrific deaths, many because of the Black Death: the plague. It's unbelievable. One piece of "art" is a chandelier from human bones and skulls that someone from America offered $100,000 for back in 1968.
I imagine it's really incredible to see this in person. It's macabre, to say the least, and perhaps it is the most bizarre placed to visit on Earth.
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