Sveto mesto (A Holy Place, 1990) is based on a literary classic, Nikolai Gogol's 1835 short story, 'Viy'. However, Kadijevic uses it only as a starting point for his own explorations into ...
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Sveto mesto (A Holy Place, 1990) is based on a literary classic, Nikolai Gogol's 1835 short story, 'Viy'. However, Kadijevic uses it only as a starting point for his own explorations into the dark side of eroticism. Gogol's story deals with Toma, a reluctant theology student who is forced to read the Psalms over an (un)dead girl for three nights in a row. All the while supernatural forces are trying to grab him from the Holy Circle drawn on the church floor. Kadijevic adapts and enriches 'Viy' by inventing a new backstory for the witch-girl and her father. The dead girl, Catherine (unwittingly killed in the prologue, while in the shape of a hag), is referred to as a 'saint' and her father is a harsh and unpleasant man. Kadijevic departs further from the original story, and introduces an excess of perversity and horror more reminiscent of the Anglo-American gothic than the milder Slavic attempts in a similar mode. Incest is the name of the game here.Written by
An atmospheric -and very adult- adaptation of Gogol's "The Viy"
Three seminary students are walking home from a fair when one of them, Toma, is almost hit by a carriage containing a beautiful woman no one else sees. As evening draws near, the trio come upon an isolated farmhouse and ask the old woman who lives there if they can spend the night lest they be set upon by wolves. She agrees and later on, in the middle of the night, she comes to Toma and starts taking off her clothes. When Toma rebuffs her, the old hag attacks him and rides him through the fields like a stallion but by reciting the Lord's Prayer, he's able to throw her (the way a horse would) and beat her to death - whereupon she changes into the beautiful lady in the carriage. Toma doesn't tell his friends what happened and the next day, the head of the monastery orders him to go to their benefactor's feudal estate and read prayers over the man's dead daughter for three consecutive nights. When he gets there and looks in the coffin, it's the young woman (?) he'd killed the night before...
This one's got it all- misty moonlight, howling wolves, hanging cobwebs, church crypts, cackling crones, a beautiful witch who rides men in more ways than one, a black cat in attack mode, a young man's hair turning white overnight, an erotic painting, superstitious villagers telling scary little stories in sepia-like flashbacks -and don't ask how the village idiot got that way (oh, OK, he was boinked senseless). Surprisingly, none of it's cheap, cheesy, or over-the-top and there's also nudity, lesbianism, and incest but even so, it's a terrific blend of sex & horror with a real sense of dread by the time the third night approaches. It's a good, "grimm" Eastern European fairytale for grown-ups -catch it if you can! The director's LEPTIRICA (1973) is also very good.
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