What begins as a straightforward historical drama emerges as a moving testament to humanism, reenacting a peasant revolt in 16th century Germany against the oppressive doctrines of the Church, which ended (not unpredictably) in tragedy. The film compensates with detail what it lacks in scope, and writer director Christian Ziewer's convincing recreation of medieval peasant manners creates some exciting and powerful moments when the ignorant, angry villagers, led by the one local clergyman with a conscience, invade and ransack the community church. With simple, unselfconscious technique and a cast of finely drawn, fully human characters, Ziewer moves the drama slowly but relentlessly toward its final, devastating confrontation.
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