sabato 23 agosto 2014

Údolí vcel (Valley of the Bees) - Frantisek Vlácil

un classico poco conosciuto, nel quale ogni immagine rimanda a un quadro, come capita ai migliori (e Frantisek Vlácil lo è).
una storia medioevale, con signori padroni della plebe e monaci potentissimi.
Ondřej è un ragazzino che la Storia prende, diventa monaco, ridiventa signore, tornando a casa come un novello Ulisse, sposa la vedova del padre, non è una storia leggera.
è anche la storia di un'amicizia con Armin, ma il voto è più forte.
la colonna sonora è di Zdenek Liska, che ha firmato le musiche di tantissimi film di quegli anni.
cercate "Údolí vcel" e godetene tutti - Ismaele

Unlike many of the films grouped together under the Czech New Wave umbrella (including the director's own more celebrated MARKETA LAZAROVÁ), VALLEY OF THE BEES is a conventional, linear narrative; a tale told fairly straight-forwardly. However, it also may well be one of the very best films of the movement, and amongst the finest historical dramas ever made...

This is a complicated film. Not a happy film at all, and quite graphic in its violence. I enjoyed it a lot, for its dramatic narrative, but have to confess to being a tad relieved when it was over.

It doesn't have the same fully immersive mental and emotional impact or atmosphere of his more well known and rightfully heralded masterpiece Marketa Lazarová, but it's equally well acted, directed, and has a far more accessible story which makes it perhaps a better starting point for anyone interested in exploring this Czech master. A director with a vision unlike any of his contemporary peers. His works are more in line with that of Bergman, Tarkovsky, or Bresson, and were it not for the severe post Soviet-invasion restrictions, he would likely be just as revered as they are today.

If you were to rank similar films along that light to dark scale, František Vláčil's Údolí včel/The Valley of the Bees would be perfect company for Bergman's film, and indeed, Ondřej (Petr Čepek), just one of the repressed, tortured souls that belong to to an order of Teutonic knights would find a kindred spirit in Max von Sydenow's chess playing knight. Rather than fighting this darkness, The Valley of the Bees gives into and immerses itself in it, producing a film that's brave, thought-provoking and contentious. Aesthetically, it's breathtaking to look at, and emotionally, it's hard to endure, which makes for an incredibly potent experience…
… Released just before the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the film was read as an attack on Communist values and banned by the authorities, thinking that Ondřej's struggle after being forced into a hierarchical and puritanical order against his will was a subversive one. In the wake of those turbulent years, this film as lost none of its potency, and of course, if you look toward the film with a political agenda you'll undoubtedly find those themes. Just like the comparisons to the classical art house cinema of Eisenstein, Bergman, Kurosawa and Bresson are easy to draw and even easier to see, to burden Bees with such weighty labels is and political readings, in all honesty, rather unfair, since obviously more than capable of standing up and speaking for itself.  This film is by no means your classic Middle Ages fable, and is most definitely a nightmare rather than fairytale, since the dragons Ondřej and those around him must face are far more fearsome than the one St. George ever had to slay.
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