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Fields stained with Turkish blood. Villages and witches burned. High
castles and deep catacombs. Bleak life full of vivid imagination. Such
is the world Bathory, The Bloody Lady of Cachtice.
Elizabeth Bathory lets you see the film through the eyes of a mother, lover and ruler rather than the legendary serial killer. Throughout the film she strives to protect her children, love and land while ignoring her tainted reputation. The intrigues escalate. Blood is spilled. And a false myth is born.
Although there is a complex epic plot, the film feels more like a series of still pictures. There is a lot of symbolism and the plot slows down so that you can fully enjoy it. Apart from the story, the Bathory also takes some time to explain how myths are created and abused to serve one’s needs. The acting is outstanding but does not stand out as much as the Hungarian costumes that make the film look fresh.
Unfortunately the movie is significantly flawed by repetitive comic relief in which two monks use various inventions to spy on the countess. They seem to have come from another movie and make you question the taste of the writers. Should there be a version without those comedians a 9/10 rating would be appropriate.
I won't agree with most of the reviews written here, but i found that movie really great. It is not a documentary movie so I don't know why is anybody upset by sort of historical inaccuracy, which isn't even certain at all, because nobody knows what was the real story of countess Bathory. Jakubisko was in his own words trying to film alternative version of this tale, different from the generally accepted bloody horror one. Actors, costumes, locations (castles all over the Czech Republic and Slovakia) were all well chosen by the director. I know the film isn't perfect, but within the central European framework with limited budget and possibilities it is really exceptional film.
"Bathory" is a long film divided in three Parts (Ferenc, Darvulia and
Thurzo) based on the story and legend of an Hungarian Countess
Elizabeth Bathory that lived in the Upper Hungary Sixteenth Century in
the period of the Turkish invasion and got the fame of bathing in blood
of virgin maids to keep her beauty.
The art direction and the music score are classy and wonderful and the lead actress is very beautiful despite the weird wig she wears. Unfortunately after 141 minutes running time I am not sure whether she was an innocent victim of a conspiracy, bathing on herbs to remain beautiful; or whether she was a criminal logged in the Guinness Book as the remark in the very end since the messy and never clear screenplay shows her as an ambiguous character. In some moments she seems to be sadistic and in other moments she seems to be very pure. The subplots with the Italian painter and the two spy-monks are quite unnecessary and ridiculous.
In the end, director Juraj Jakubisko wastes a great budget and a story with a good potential with a confused tale of greed and treason. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Condessa de Sangue" ("Countess of Blood")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you are a fan of the Bathory legend, Gothic period films or Anna
Friel, this is worth a watch, mostly for Anna Friel's performance and
the high quality technical aspects of the film (the cinematography, set
design and costume design are fantastic and help the film come off as
quite epic at times). I also really liked the twist on the Bathory
tale, which I wont describe here to avoid spoilers but I will say it
may be the best thing to come from the film. There were times I truly
enjoyed watching Bathory and was enthralled by the story.
But having said all these nice things and recommending a watch for certain people, I cannot emphasize enough how dreadful this film was. The dialog was horrible, many of the actors in important roles come off as amateur at best, and the worst crime here is the addition of the monks as poorly conceived vehicles for exposition and totally unnecessary comic relief. This element of the film is so terribly bad and inappropriate that whoever introduced it into this film needs to never, ever be involved in making another movie again because they are clearly incompetent. That may sound over the top, but I cannot stress enough how much it hurt this film. I saw the need for exposition, but it could have been done in a myriad of more appropriate ways, and the comic aspects were so completely out of place here it killed any mood the film created. It truly helped ruin what could have been a fantastic movie.
That is the most obvious example of what makes Bathory so disappointing - seeing the potential of what could have been great constantly squandered by bad film making. They made a world class epic film with excellent technical work, a great re-imagining of the Bathory legend and a good performance by Ms. Friel, but regularly sabotaged it. The entire time I watched it the thought running through my mind was "It could have been so good!", so it was quite a frustrating experience.
I gave Bathory a 4 which I think is fair. To explain - on one hand it may deserve a bit higher rating, but on the other hand I was originally going to give it a 2 or 3 simply because when the film was at it's best you see it could have been an 8 - 10 but they just kept ruining it. I went higher because I felt a score that low wouldn't give enough credit to the people who did a very good job in an otherwise bad film but anything over a 4 would be rewarding the incompetence as well.
What a missed opportunity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I honestly do not see while people are bashing this movie. Some of
their reasons are because they do not understand it and it's more like
a series of pictures or that it's not like the "actual Elizabeth
Bathory". When honestly... if they had somewhat of a more open mind..
they would have got it. As well.. if they had read the description of
the movie.. it clearly says this is the story of opposing the thought
of her being an actual serial killer a.k.a Historical Fiction film.
Anyways....The flashbacks or dreams or whatever... were showing you the mind of Elizabeth and what she wanted despite the fact she was going crazy and could not tell between reality and dreams. The "green dreams" most of them were showing the future and the moment it happened it showed you again to be reminded. As for the acting... I saw nothing wrong with it at all. It was not B-Rated at all.. and I can tell you this..
Anna did one heck of a job compared to some very "famous" actresses like Megan fox who cannot act at all. I do agree some of the comedy with the monks in there was out of place.. but there was a reason behind it I am sure. Other than that... this movie was NOT a waste of time and I'd watch it over and over again.
So I rate this 9/10. It is worth a watch... unless your one of those people who always fell asleep during history class and do not know the true story of Elizabeth Bathory. and again this is Historic FICTION film.
This story follows the rise and fall of one of history's most prolific
serial killers, Countess Báthory who supposedly bathed in virgins blood
to stay youthful.
This is a comprehensive fictionalised TV version directed and written by Juraj Jakubisko with mixed production values in both tone and atmosphere. The setting is fantastic and breathtaking, however, the exterior scenes lack the Gothic feel that the interiors have.
As a TV film, in several parts, the Monks narration and involvement arguably fits, however, as a film it may have benefited from the omission of the character entirely. You'll also either love or hate the involvement of painter Caravaggio. Historical inaccuracies aside and the unnecessary humour injected usually by the monk, this incarnation of the legend is very interesting and adds food for thought to the tale of Báthory. In addition, it gives an interesting portrayal of politics, religion and royalty of the time.
Anna Friel is fantastic as the miss-judged Erzsébet Báthory and gives a wonderful performance, full of range and emotional depth. It's not all out horror, a possible nod to Ingrid Pitt in Countess Dracula (1970). Co-Star Karel Roden is on top form as Juraj Thurzo and Vincent Regan is notable. The supporting cast do just that. The principle characters have strong motivations for their actions and the morale choices are at times shades of grey.
It's not without its faults but there's a handful of interesting dream and hallucination sequences and enough twists on the tale to keep you watching. This coupled with some fine locations, costumes and performances makes Bathory worth your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
however the director obviously tried to clear countess's name. Elizabeth Bathory is portrayed as a victim to frantic witch huntings of those times and a evil doings of palatin Thurzo. This is the reason why film falls into "historical-fiction" category. If anyone is interested in objective account of life of "countess Dracula", may not ever find out the truth. Little is left of facts and the rest are testimonies, obtained by tortures, those aren't much reliable. I read a lot of reviews on IMDb of this film, rarely flattering. In my opinion it deserves better. "Bathory" (2008) is beautifully made into a sad, dreamlike tale. I was positively surprised how much attention was paid to costumes/scenography/objects accuracy. Thanks to that I felt more and could imagine better the spirit of 16th century. Much attention was paid to details, again costumes, carts and amazing locations. Film well worth seeing. The only fall back for me was the strange mix of English speech with heavy Hungarian accents. I just detest this kind of "universalization". Why not make a film in Hungarian with English subtitles? Much better.
Redbox got rights to this 2008 reject from Czech TV, and melted it down
into a 3 hour movie that they tried to pass off with a horror
sub-title, "Countess of Blood".
Instead, what you get is a Hungarian History lesson that is about as clear as Goolash. They take the notorious Blood Countess of Hungary, Erzabet Bathory, who was one of the influences for Dracula, and actually try to spin her in a positive light (Namely, that if she was brutal at all, she was brutal for the time she lived in.) A tighter, shorter movie would have worked better, without the unneeded characters like the two monks who come up with wacky steam-punk inventions.
I think the movie looks great and puts you in that time period pretty well... and it quickly touches on the politics of feudal Austria-Hungary. But it's really just too long and unfocused.
Lavish, romanticized account of the life and times of 16th century
Hungarian countess Erzsébet Bathory, history's most prolific serial
BATHORY, a would-be epic with nice period detail, aspires to myth-buster status by painting the "Bloody Countess of Čachtice" as a victim of political chicanery in a male-dominated society but all it accomplishes is a "legend" of its own by white-washing history, facts be damned. Here, as a wealthy woman who's vast holdings could turn the tide in a power struggle between Catholics and Protestants as they fight off a Muslim invasion, Countess Bathory is more sinned against than sinning and framed for crimes she never committed. Yeah, right. Valentine Penrose & Alexander Trocchi's well-researched "The Bloody Countess: Atrocities Of Erzsébet Bathory", offers a significantly different account based on historical records:
"Descended from one of the most ancient aristocratic families of Europe, Erzsébet Bathory bore the psychotic aberrations of centuries of intermarriage. From adolescence she indulged in sadistic lesbian fantasies where only the spilling of a woman's blood could satisfy her urges. By middle age she had regressed to a mirror-fixated state of pathological necro-sadism involving witchcraft, torture, blood-drinking, cannibalism and, inevitably, wholesale slaughter. These years, at the latter end of the 16th century, witnessed a reign of cruelty unsurpassed in the annals of mass murder with the Countess' depredations on the virgin girls of the Carpathians leading to some 650 deaths. Her many castles were equipped with chambers where she would hideously torture and mutilate her victims, becoming a murder factory where hundreds of girls were killed and processed for the ultimate youth-giving ritual: the bath of blood..."
In Juraj Jakubisko's film, Erzsébet Bathory is depicted as an intelligent woman ahead of her time and a Protestant preyed upon by the Catholic Church as well as her late husband's covetous best friend although she still finds time for a passionate affair with the Italian painter Caravaggio (!) as her subjects try inventing spring-powered roller skates, phonographs, still photography, and primitive airplanes a la Leonardo Da Vinci. The tale, a de-fanged poison valentine to renaissance Hungary, is served up on a grand scale but twists the truth into a monumental mis-carriage of injustice that's recommended to revisionists only. What's next, JEFFREY DAHMER -THE MUSICAL?
The great thing about this film is it's unique style, which has great
flair, very like the best of Ken Russell. It doesn't try to be blandly
mainstream, the director is too talented for that, he has too much
vision to fit in with the prosaic , boring and anodyne rot usually
filling our screens. This film entertains with gusto, flair, beauty and
horror. One may quibble with any film and look for faults, but this
film is fascinating and compelling, suitable for anyone interested in
the drama of the life of Erzsebet Bathory. One soon comes to see
through the eyes of the lead characters, their brutal and beautiful
world lives and breathes again, shockingly, before our eyes.
Erzsabet's story is told in a such a colourful, dynamic and thoroughly gripping way, that certainly had me looking forward to seeing more, like asking for a second helping of a surprisingly delicious pudding, I relished what I found to be so enjoyable after having heard such bad reviews. Erzsabet's life and times were brutal and this is shown graphically but not too eye wateringly. The performances are highly entertaining and extremely powerful especially the characters of Erzsabet, Caravaggio and Thurzo. Some have quibbled about the English accents of the actors but actually I thought Ezsabet's Hungarian accent rather convincing, the chill of steel to the edge of her voice. It is a very accessible story, so who would be so daft as to require the actors to speak Hungarian and so lose half the audience, who are either too dense or lazy to read subtitles. Frankly a ridiculous quibble, one does not notice anything but how fine the performances truly are.
Visually stunning and beautiful, the script gives us a thumpingly good story and altogether it is a mesmerising piece of cinema. It is so powerful that twenty four hours after watching, it still haunts me and I look forward to seeing more from this director and creative team. I feel I've discovered, at last, a piece of English language cinema that isn't formulaic, that isn't dull and predictable, that isn't the same old same old, that isn't like every other pleasant enough but unimaginative 'product,' here is something unique and artistically brave and exciting.
Altogether I think one would have to be in a very sour and unforgiving mood to find fault. If you want to be entertained and why else watch, everyone should enjoy this unfairly maligned but unusually fascinating film.
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