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Rated NR · 85 minutes · 1964
A feudal lord in 16th-century Bohemia enlists a priest of the Inquisition to target the son of a troublesome miller, on the pretense that the boy's vast knowledge of nature must be the result of some satanic bargain. With this second feature (1961), Czech director Frantisek Vlacil launched a trilogy of medieval dramas that he hoped would set a new standard in period authenticity. That goal is at least party compromised here by the well-scrubbed players and conventionally lit interiors, but the movie is much less remarkable for its historical accuracy than for its delirious visuals and eerie sound design. Whenever someone visits the mill, Vlacil cuts to an aerial shot in which the camera swoops straight toward the building and just clears the roof; it's a striking motif and a perfect example of how the movie's sensual pleasures outshine its heavily thematic story. In Czech with subtitles.
Director: Frantisek Vlacil
Cast: Karla Chadimova, Miroslav Machacek, Jaroslav Moucka, Vlastimil Hasek, Josef Hlinomaz, Bedrich Karen, Ladislav Kazda, Dagmar Kofronová, Frantisek Kovárík and Frantisek Nechyba

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