Czech history drama, black-and-white, 1967, by Frantisek Vlácil, Language: Czech, German, Subtitles: Hungarian, 165'
Directed by Frantisek Vlácil
Screenplay by Frantisek Pavlícek, Vladislav Vancura, Frantisek Vlácil
Director of photography: Bedrich Batka
Music by Zdenek Liska
Cast: Josef Kemr, Magda Vásáryová, Nada Hejna, Jaroslav Moucka, Frantisek Velecký, Karel Vasicek
Production: Filmové studio Barrandov
Wolves running at breakneck speed through the snow. Monks cowled in black makingtheir way towards a white church at the top of a hill, carrying doves in their hands. A manteetering on the brink of collapse in a marshland. These are but a few of the most memorable scenes and images of a film considered to be the best Czech cinematographicwork. Reminiscent at once of Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (released a year later) and ofIstván Szaladják’s film Madárszabadító, felhő, szél (The Bird Rescuer, Cloud, Wind), while elements of Capricious Summer, based on Vladislav Vancura’s novel, also seem to appear. The way Marketa – the beautiful Magda Vasaryova – riding in horse cart is filmed from above and other shots all had an impact on the work of Lars von Trier, especially in Dogville. Vancura’s novel was published in Hungarian under the title “Thieving Knights”,which gives some indication as to the main characters and the plot. Played in medieval Czechia, when it was still pagan and wild, the role of the trees, ruins and castle walls is atleast as important as that of the highwaymen.