Ben Sombogaart / NL, 2018 / 100 min.
Previously unreleased in the Netherlands and now showing in EYE: František Vláčil’s gripping portrayal of a medieval society with its lingering traces of paganism. The epic action-filled tale was inspired by a centuries-old Czech legend and has been described as ‘an unsung milestone in the history of cinema’.
In its country of origin, Marketa Lazarová has long been acknowledged as the best native film ever made. This epic classic is not a conventional historical drama but a heady evocation of life in the thirteenth century. With its inventive widescreen cinematography, editing and sound design, the outstanding Marketa Lazarová is an experimental action film that has yet to meet its equal.
The story, which is laden with symbolism, is set in the Middle Ages against the backdrop of a culture shifting from paganism to Christianity. Two rivalling and corrupt clans of marauding feudal lords, as much driven by supersitition as anybody else, regard themselves as noble knights but are no more than rapists and robbers. The title character, Marketa Lazarová, is abducted and abused by three members of one of these clans. When Marketa and Mikoláš fall in love, their love affair is brutally ended.
Marketa Lazarová is a unique film that is regarded as an unsung milestone in the history of cinema. In its Top 75 of hidden cinematographic gems, Sight & Sound called Vláčil”s epic “one of the most convincing evocations of the medieval era ever committed to film”. The film has not been released before in the Netherlands and is now showing in EYE.