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The Deserter and the Nomads (1968)

Zbehovia a pútnici (original title)
Three war stories ranging from World War I to a post-apocalyptic nuclear holocaust treat death and the fragility of the humankind through different approaches.


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Credited cast:
Ferencz Gejza ...
Mikulás Ladizinský ...
Helena Gorovova ...
Alexandra Sekulova ...
Augustín Kubán ...
Jana Stehnová ...
Samuel Adamcík ...
Frantisek Peto ...
Katarina Tekelova
Olga Vronská ...
(as Ol'ga Vronská)
Olga Adamcíková
Albert Pagac ...
Vasek Kovarik ...
Crippled Christ
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mikulás Cincula


Through a variety of film styles that provide a surrealistic sensory overload, Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko provides three war stories that treat the fragility of the humankind through different approaches, with Death as a common denominator appearing in all stories. In the first chapter (WWI), a gypsy deserts the army to return to his town for a wedding. To protect himself, he dresses up as a woman. However, the Hussars spot him, unleashing violent confrontations in the village. In the second chapter (WWII), Russian partisans kill an old man suspected of being a German spy. The news that the war is over scatters. Celebrations begin. But a German unit is unaware of this, and stumbles upon the celebration. In the third chapter (Post-Apocalyptic Nuclear Holocaust), two survivors begin an extensive search for other remaining people, but Death seeks them out too. Written by Edgar Cochran

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Release Date:

6 December 1968 (Czechoslovakia)  »

Also Known As:

The Deserter and the Nomads  »

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User Reviews

Spirited but wearying.
4 March 2004 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

This is a very energetic, very strange, very shrill film about death in a surreal Slovakia. Three episodes cover three different historical periods, two in the past, one in a post-nuclear-apocalypse future. If you take the most strident bits of middle- or late-period Fellini, cross-pollenate that with the obscure, balletic late films of Jancso, add the geese- and gypsy-milieu of Kusturica, and you might have an idea of what this is like to watch; there's a lot of invention and colour, but it's so highly strung and shrilly pitched that the film swiftly becomes a bit grating, and frequently dull. However, a curio, and probably worth seeing once.

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