In its native land, Frantiek Vláils Marketa Lazarová has been hailed as the greatest Czech film ever made; for many U.S. viewers, it will be a revelation. Based on a novel by Vladislav Vanura, this stirring and poetic depiction of a feud between two rival medieval clans is a fierce, epic, and meticulously designed evocation of the clashes between Christianity and paganism, humankind and nature, love and violence. Vláils approach was to re-create the textures and mentalities of a long-ago way of life, rather than to make a conventional historical drama, and the result is dazzling. With its inventive widescreen cinematography, editing, and sound design, Marketa Lazarová is an experimental action film.
This acclaimed Czech epic, set during the transition from paganism to Christianity during the 13th century, focuses on the Kozlik family, a clan of brutal and superstitious pillagers who ravage the bleak medieval countryside on horseback. One-armed Adam (Ivo Paluch) and his brother Mikolás (Frantisek Velecky) violently abduct the virginal Marketa Lazarová (Magda Vasaryova), the daughter of a Kozlik rival, and hold her hostage, leading to a monumental battle and an unlikely romance.
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