Údolí vcel (Valley of the Bees) (1968) - Frantisek Vlácil

Údolí vcel (Valley of the Bees) (1968)

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Director: Frantisek Vlácil
Writer: Vladimír Körner

Video: XVID | 656X368 | Framerate: 25 | Sound: mpga | Color: Black and Withe | Size: 699 MB | Runtime: 97 min | Country: Czechoslovakia | Language: Czech | Subtitels: English | Genre: Drama | History

Petr Cepek ... Ondrej
Jan Kacer... Armin
Vera Galatíková... Lenora
Zdenek Kryzánek... Lord of Vlkov
Miroslav Machácek... Brown Friar
Josef Somr... Rotgier
Václav Kotva... Farmer
Jana Hlavácková... Blind Girl
Frantisek Kovárík... Shepherd
Josef Kotapis... A Collier
Petr Sedlák... A Collier
Ludvík Volf... A Hunter
Ladislav Gzela... Jakub
Petr Stepánek... Markvart
Michal Kozuch
Jana Hájková
Zdenek Sedlácek
Milos Willig
Frantisek Husák

Ondrej, a young boy who loves bees and bats, is introduced to his new mother, a woman much younger than his father. Her brings her a bowl of flower petals which she starts to throw in the air and then gives out a shriek, as she discovers several bats in the bottom of the bowl. In a rage, Ondrej's father picks the boy up and hurls him against a wall. Then as the boy lays in a stupor the father promises the Holy Virgin to dedicate the boy to her if she will spare his life. The boy lives and Ondrej is raised in a strict monastic order, where he is mentored by a very pious warrior monk, Armin. One day after being chastised for no good reason, he escapes and returns home. Armin heads out to bring him back. With his father dead, Ondrej becomes lord of the castle and becomes engaged to his father's widow. Near the end, Armin shows up and attempts to get Ondrej to come back to the order.

This is, without a doubt, one of the finest films I have ever seen. It works so well on so many levels. It is a religious drama, an historical drama and a darn good yarn. The acting is first-rate throughout and the cinematography and music are breathtaking in their beauty. Vlacik had an obvious fondness for deep poetic and metaphysical image and story-telling. But, he also had a gift for sheer drama. There are many shocking moments that almost take your breath away. You really feel you are in the Middle Ages with all of its existential isolation and horror.

The previous reviewer describes the film fairly well so I will not get into the actual story. But if you have a chance to see this film at a film festival, see this film. This film is as good as the best of Kurosawa, Rivette, Bergman, Angelopoulos etc. 10 points out of 10.


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