[REL] Kytice (2000)

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[REL] Kytice (2000)

Post by Rich »   16 likes

Kytice AKA Wild Flowers (2000)


Kytice (Wildflowers) is a series of 7 short films thematically linked and based on a series of ballads written 200 years ago by KJ Erbena, regarded by some as the Czech equivalent of William Shakespeare. They are famous folk-stories and fairy tales, well-known to anyone in the Czech Republic. Adapting them to the big screen was therefore always going to be quite a challenge for a film-maker brave enough to take them on.

F A Brabec, with a strong background in cinematography and directing, is the director who has chosen to adapt the ballads for the screen and he plays it safe with Kytice. All of the tales are superbly crafted, sumptuously photographed, meticulously lit and almost devoid of any real emotion or meaning – but then we are dealing with fairy tales here. Of the 13 ballads composed by KJ Erbena, 7 have been chosen for adaptation to film. They feature many of the staples of the genre – cautionary tales with witches, wicked step-mothers and princes looking for brides. There is a fair amount of horror in the stories but nothing too terrifying.

Kytice (Wildflowers)
A woman dies in a thunderstorm while out in the fields. She is buried and her children care for her grave which bears forth wildflowers. This episode acts as a framing episode for the other ballads setting a theme and a mood for the others to follow.

Vodník (Waterman)
A young girl goes to the river despite her mother’s warnings of dangers she has foreseen. The girl falls into the river and is taken to be the wife of a creature who lives in the river. She bears him a son, but longs to see her mother again. The Waterman (played by Czech pop-star Dan Bárta) warns her of terrible consequences should she fail to return.

Svatební Košile (Wedding Shirts)
A young maiden prays for her fiancé’s return from the war, whatever the cost. She doesn’t know that he has died in the war however and when her prayer is answered, she appears not to notice that he has returned from the grave and wants to take her back with him.

Polednice (Noon Witch)
Preparing food in the kitchen, a mother is frustrated by the constant crying of her child. She threatens the child that the noon-witch will take him away if he doesn’t stop crying. The noon-witch hears her call.

Zlatý Kolovrat (Golden Spinwheel)
A royal prince spies a beautiful girl bathing in the woods. He finds where she lives and demands to have her as his bride. Her stepmother plans to kill the girl and to have her own daughter take her place in the royal palace.

Dcerina Kletba (Daughter’s Curse)
A girl kills the child she has borne illegitimately and is to be hanged for her crime. She curses her pious mother from the gallows.

Štedrý den (Christmas Day)
A young maiden believes the superstition that her future love will appear reflected in the lake on at midnight on a moonlit Christmas Eve. She goes with her sister and they see the death of their mother also foretold to them.

The film ends with a Seventh Seal style parade of the dead characters being led from the church that features in several of the episodes.

All the episodes make use of strong imagery, bold, bright and rich colours and impeccable compositions. The director has tried to give each episode its own feel and colour scheme, tying it into a particular season for additional mood. Some episodes are remarkably effective – Wedding Shirts uses no special effects, but plays the story like a carefully choreographed ballet or opera with its characters floating across a blue moonlit landscape on wires. It also manages to be chillingly creepy without exactly being horrific, an effect equally well-done in Waterman and Noon Witch. Daughter’s Curse manages to be the most emotionally powerful, but would probably be more effective if you could figure out what it is all about. While earlier episodes are around 15-20 minutes long, the latter episodes suffer greatly by being compressed into about 5 minutes.

The overall effect of all the episodes however is much too sugary. This is the kind of film that uses white feathers for snow flakes. The director’s background in television advertising is all too evident with episodes at times reminding one of a Flake or a Timotea advert. The ballads are all performed in verse and this works quite well. The English subtitled translation is superb, appropriately rhyming and phrasing very much in the style of a folk song.


I'm not sure about this one, guess we'll have to wait and see ;)

Like this post to see ed2k links  [697.40 Mb]

Rich :)

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