Suffering | Chicago Reader

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A girl and her horse may not be the most original subject for a film, and this 1961 Czech feature by Karel Kachyna isn?t wholly original in style. But Kachyna has a rare feel for his main character?s relationship with nature, a relationship the film?s adults have lost. Twelve-year-old Lenka succeeds in taming a horse after others have failed and tries to save him from whippings and slaughter; Kachyna gently defines her through the smallest physical details—a close-up of her bare feet in the mud, reaction shots of her horse that suggest he understands her despite his blank expression. More than once the director shows us small objects before the characters see them, giving the environs an independent existence so often lacking in character-centered narratives, and he uses the wide ?Scope frame to link characters with the surrounding land.

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