Marketa Lazarová is the story of two rival clans: the primitive Pagan raiders the Kozlíks, lorded over by a brutal patriarch; and the slightly more civilized Lazars who, while unwilling to participate in the bloody raids perpetrated by the Kozlíks, is more than happy to scavenge for anything he might think could be of value.
Based on a retelling by author Daniel Chonkadze of a Georgian folktale, the simple plot at the core of the movie is about Georgia in a tumultuous time, caught in the middle of a war between Muslims and Christians. Although its borders are largely secure thanks to a network of fortresses, one of these strongholds is a weak link owing to the fact that no matter what manner of architectural and engineering know-how is applied to it, the walls inevitably crumble after a short while.
I’m back on Cultural Gutter writing about the rarity of Jewish horror films. Hebrew Horrors looks at two horror films that are set within the realm of Jewish folklore: 1920’s well-regarded and somewhat controversial Der Golem, and the little-known Yiddish-language horror film The Dybbuk.
Based on a story by Ukrainian-born writer Nikolai Gogol, Viy is the story of good-for-nothing layabout Khoma (Leonid Kuravlyov), a scholar from the local monastery who with his two friends is on his way home for a break from the rigors of not really applying himself to his studies. To be fair to Khoma, he seems no worse than the rest of the students, who follow their release from seminary school with goose-theft, drunken carousing, and occasional grab-ass.
I cannot count “point of view” films among the styles of film making for which I possess much tolerance. Aside from rarely being the least bit convincing as “found footage,” relying as they do on the conceit that assorted people would continue to film an incident long after the extreme danger factor would move just…