Shadow of Fern | Chicago Reader

Shadow of Fern

Movies about young couples on the run date back at least as far as Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once (1937), but this 1985 film by Czech director Frantisek Vlacil adds a homoerotic subtext and an unrelieved nihilism. A young poacher kills a forester who's caught him and his friend red-handed; they flee into the forest but are haunted by guilt. Their battle is against nature itself, whose order they violate with their crimes: the lush vistas begin to threaten them as actual or potential pursuers appear in the landscape, and at one point the murderer seems to go mad, railing against the beauties of a field while trampling its flowers. In Czech with subtitles.

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