this, a film of a short story by nicolai gogol(inspired by a ukrainian fairy tale)tells the story of piotr, who is merely a poor farmer and in need of money to marry his great love. he's helped by a demon called bassaruv who offers him more gold than he could count for bringing him a flower from the forests at night. when they meet, piotr sees that his task deviates from the original contract: the demon forces him to kill a small child for the loot. greedy for love, piotr does so. he can now marry his girl, but suffers all day long lethargically. the movie is an outstanding example of surrealism using surprising, at times twisted and confusing techniques and creating an unparalleled atmosphere. there are moments of hilarious slapstick as well as sheer horror and everything in between,but this combines to a complete entity and doesn't make the film silly or seem unprofessional. but what a shame: there's no way to get hold of it today! as far as i know, it's never been released in the western democracies during cold war, and it still is impossible to get a copy of it today. i've only seen it twice: as a lad (5 years old or so) in gdr and in spring 2001 in paris, where it was aired by the cultural tv channel arte. IF I JUST COULD HAVE RECORDED IT THERE !!!!!!!! but this doesn't change my opinion about it as it has become one of my all time favourites and i hope someday this masterpiece will be available to all of us (especially me).
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