Location Info:

Metrograph
No.7 Ludlow St.
New York, NY  10002
212-660-0312
Up until a decade ago, Frantisek Vlacil's Marketa Lazarová (1967) was difficult to see — unless you lived in the Czech Republic, that is. In a 1998 survey, Czech critics and publicists voted it the country's best film. It deserves the lofty position; Marketa is a film in which you relearn the language of cinema while watching it. Freely adapted from avant-garde writer and filmmaker Vladislav Vancura's 1931 book of the same name, Marketa tells the labyrinthine tale of warring thirteenth-century tribes in Bohemia, depicting battles between pagans and Christians, Czechs and Germans. On an aesthetic level, the film is daring. Speech eerily reverberates with the post-sync sound’s slap-back echo, and Zdenek Liska, one of the cinema’s greatest composers, provides a score that is alternately electronic, percussive, and orchestral. Visually, it’s oneiric; shots alternate between desolate snowscapes and close-ups of dour, dirty faces captured in black-and-white CinemaScope. With its audio-visual experimentation and elliptical narrative, Marketa makes strange the historical epic.

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