Main theme from Czech vampire comedy The Vampire Wedding (Svatba upírů, 1993, directed by Jaroslav Soukup), starring Rudolf Hrušínský (grandson of Rudolf “The Cremator” Hrušínský), Iveta Bartošová and Viktor Preiss. Music by Zdeněk Barták.
This is The Cremator (Spalovač mrtvol, 1969). I’m in the middle of a Czech New Wave binge, “New Wave” being used for any change in a nation’s cinema. Many long essays have been written about this period (1960s), I just want to publicize a few gems, starting with The Cremator.
The lead is the manager of a crematorium, and as creepy as he is, he has a hint of humanity- to start. It takes place in Czechoslovakia in 1938/9, and he changes with the times, which is one of my favorite subjects for fiction. I found myself thinking of The Shining- completely different plot, similar feel and fear for the characters.
It is a much better story of the origins of the Holocaust than any other movie I’ve seen because that element slips into the story so quietly and effortlessly. Ten minutes in and you can see it coming, but the arrival is no less shocking. This is not a preachy documentary about evil. It is a spine tingling horror movie, and the best horror movies let the viewer make connections in their minds instead of using laughable gore. The one thing I didn’t like was that the lead was a little too crazy. A quibble. He also has an amazing combover- worth a look even if my review doesn’t appeal.
This is also one of the few movies where I could see the director’s work. With exceptions like Hitchcock and Anderson who have an easily identifiable style, I’m never sure where the writing ends and direction starts. Beautiful, creepy-then-horrifying movie. I watched it on Hulu Plus- signed up for the free week to watch one movie, figured I’d binge before they charge my card.
Music video for Czech fairy tale Čert ví proč (The Devil Knows Why, 2003, directed by Roman Vávra).
Quite enjoyable film based on story by Miloš Macourek (Who Wants to Kill Jessie?, The Girl on a Broomstick etc.), with all-stars cast (Tatiana Pauhofová, Iva Janžurová, Jiří Lábus, Eva Holubová and many other local first-class actors), but for some reason, it´s not so popular as other fairy tales. Devil knows why…