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A non-narrative voyage round Sedlec Ossuary, which has been constructed from over 50,000 human skeletons (victims of the Black Death).

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A non-narrative voyage round Sedlec Ossuary, which has been constructed from over 50,000 human skeletons (victims of the Black Death).

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21 April 2009 (Czech Republic)  »

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Kostnica  »

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Arrangements of flowery death
2 June 2011 | by See all my reviews

So many curious stuff in such a short time.

  • a school visit to an ossuary, presumably the largest in the world, where 70,000 human skeletons are arranged into elaborate ornaments. It seems the entire suffering of Czech history is represented here. Black Death, the 15th century Hussite wars, tortures, religious purgings.


  • the ossuary as mass grave, church, and art gallery, where the visitor may puzzle over his reactions to the grotesque spectacle. To be sanctimoniously solemn or to marvel? Is what we see a collection of relics or exhibits?


  • a funny remark about an American who offered to pay $100,000 to purchase a chandelier made of skulls and bones.


  • the rather amusing imprudence of the kids who are not phased by any of this, and will write with ballpoint pens on the skulls, much to the tour guide's irritation.


  • the man responsible for the art here, who spent 10 years of his life down there arranging human bones to a monument of flowery death. Devotional obsession as pursued at the close proximity of death. Of course the images Svankmajer captures of this, the textures and fractures.


Some great horror movies could be made around this place. Perhaps this is one of them.


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