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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarkovsky meets Leone
If you can imagine a cross between Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev and Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West (all made within a year of each other), you might have a notion of what Vlacil's Marketa Lazerova is like. Throw in a dash of Bergman's Virgin Spring, and you're almost there. Named by Czech critics as the best Czech film of all time, Marketa Lazerova is a poetic social...
Published 18 months ago by Eric M. Eiserloh

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5 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful But Boring
Length does not make a film an epic. This film had 2 major sets - the farmsteads of the rival clans - the rest of the film was shot in what appeared the Czech countryside, but it is very to tell as there almost no long shots. Obviously shot on a low budget. The cinematography is crystal clear, but very claustrophobic - I kept trying to see what the camera wouldn't...
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarkovsky meets Leone, May 22, 2013
By 
This review is from: Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
If you can imagine a cross between Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev and Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West (all made within a year of each other), you might have a notion of what Vlacil's Marketa Lazerova is like. Throw in a dash of Bergman's Virgin Spring, and you're almost there. Named by Czech critics as the best Czech film of all time, Marketa Lazerova is a poetic social critique/examination of human kind, in particular when operating outside the confines of "civilization."

The film is set in the Middle Ages,* when family clans competed to rule the harsh territory seizing everything within their reach that they were able enough to claim and defend (not unlike the "old West" for a time), a time when religious and social order (established by the church, alongside the king and his army) was not fully accepted, and clans were used to operating in accordance with more primitive codes and authorities largely based around shamanic/mythic insights, the most basic offeudal ethics, and the strength/toughness of family numbers, from the clan leader on down.

What sets it apart is the cinematic poetry, and anyone who has trouble with the narratives of Tarkovsky, or a modern master like Malick will probably have trouble with this film. While, a straight forward story line does exist at the core, this film speaks on many levels, and making sense of it not only requires careful consideration of everything we hear and are able to see, some of which seems contradictory until we realize that not everything is actually happening, or at least not literally as it is depicted.

Mythic poetry is what it is, and it is the kind of film that opens up once you begin to question into it. I would begin with why it is called Marketa Lazarova (the name of a character whose part is not all that big)?

The film is almost 3 hours, and ample time for absorbtion and reflection are necessary, so anyone eager to check the next film off their list will probably need to come back to it when they are ready and able to give it more time and space.

*That it is set in the middle ages doesn't mean that there are no modern day parallels, particularly in times of war.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film, Great Blu-ray, June 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I think others have expressed well what a wonderful film this is, but the reviews are for old editions. First off, it's a great film. It reminds me of Tarkovsky and of "the Passion of Joan of Arc" in some ways. It has that kind of classic drama infused in it.

The good news is that Criterion has done a wonderful job with the transfer. The mid-tones look great and the restoration is good without looking digitally hashed-up. The sound has some problems inherent to the original film. Much of the dialogue is looped and favored with slap-back echo. It's a minor disturbance for such a treat of a film but I did find myself wondering if those voices were inside my head sometimes!

Criterion didn't play it safe this time and brought a stunning work of art into our homes. Kudos to them for not pandering and doing all the expected movies and for their usual fine and careful restoration work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious art film about seriously dysfunctional feudal families, June 14, 2014
The acting is amazing. The cinematography is incredible. Most Americans, lets face it, aren't going to put up with a relatively subjective and slow-moving film with several leaps in the narrative. Ultimately it is a tale of sin, repentance, rebellion, redemption and absolution, and seriously dysfunctional families. Dude, I mean sssserioussssly. And you get to see all of the gory details of their glorious dysfunctions.

I found myself sympathizing with the characters, particularly the initially child-like Marketa who loses her innocence. I found myself wondering where they were or what would befall them. There was a sense of it being an origin of man tale akin to Clan of the Cave Bears with feudal pagan clans living like animals despite it being the 13th century, and with the vast scope of Once Upon A Time in the West. At all times, you must look and listen for symbolism and work a little to construct the disjunct, subjectively told story with jump cuts aplenty. In that sense, it's a bit like 2001 which jump cut a strange odyssey of the evolution of man into space. If it is a little "slow" or "boring", I suggest taking a break and coming back to it. Black and white often makes people feel distant from a story, and emphasizes that this is a story about something that happened a long time ago.

The musical score deserves mention in its own right. It was truly beautiful, mixing modernistic and medieval elements. At times, it's akin to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in its bombast and references to medieval music, or invoking religious choral beauty.

Given that the majority of us don't understand Czech, we can't understand some of the things that the director tried to achieve with language. And we don't know from watching that he made his actors live as they did in the film for two years until they were really acting according to more primitive instincts. I'd say that the work paid off. I might actually watch this again someday. And I didn't think I would say that when I was in the middle of it.

I'm pretty sure this movie is just fine without going for the Blu ray edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Czech film, October 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Great Czech film, good pic and sound quality and abundant extras. I'd got the DVD version and, after watching it, decided to collect its bluray edition. Nothing to regret.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You are watching art about seriously dysfunctional feudal families, June 14, 2014
This review is from: Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The acting is amazing. The cinematography is incredible. Most Americans, lets face it, aren't going to put up with a relatively subjective and slow-moving film with several leaps in the narrative. Ultimately it is a tale of sin, repentance, rebellion, redemption and absolution, and seriously dysfunctional families. Dude, I mean sssserioussssly. And you get to see all of the gory details of their glorious dysfunctions.

I found myself sympathizing with the characters, particularly the initially child-like Marketa who loses her innocence. I found myself wondering where they were or what would befall them. There was a sense of it being an origin of man tale akin to Clan of the Cave Bears with feudal pagan clans living like animals despite it being the 13th century, and with the vast scope of Once Upon A Time in the West. At all times, you must look and listen for symbolism and work a little to construct the disjunct, subjectively told story with jump cuts aplenty. In that sense, it's a bit like 2001 which jump cut a strange odyssey of the evolution of man into space. If it is a little "slow" or "boring", I suggest taking a break and coming back to it. Black and white often makes people feel distant from a story, and emphasizes that this is a story about something that happened a long time ago.

The musical score deserves mention in its own right. It was truly beautiful, mixing modernistic and medieval elements. At times, it's akin to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in its bombast and references to medieval music, or invoking religious choral beauty.

Given that the majority of us don't understand Czech, we can't understand some of the things that the director tried to achieve with language. And we don't know from watching that he made his actors live as they did in the film for two years until they were really acting according to more primitive instincts. I'd say that the work paid off. I might actually watch this again someday. And I didn't think I would say that when I was in the middle of it.
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8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully, anyone who is looking for reviews of the Criterion Br, April 19, 2013
By 
Hunter (Orlando, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
realizes that none of the 2008 -2012 (if any) reviews has anything to do with this disc except re:plot of the film. Neither does this one. Am looking forward to after people buy it and review the actual disc Amazon is asking us to buy and providing old reviews unrelated to anything but plot to make a buy decision myself>
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5 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful But Boring, September 27, 2013
This review is from: Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Length does not make a film an epic. This film had 2 major sets - the farmsteads of the rival clans - the rest of the film was shot in what appeared the Czech countryside, but it is very to tell as there almost no long shots. Obviously shot on a low budget. The cinematography is crystal clear, but very claustrophobic - I kept trying to see what the camera wouldn't show. Very little plot and character development. ''Marketa' tries very hard to emulate Tarkovsky but falls way short. Beautiful cinematography does not make a movie great. (I kept wondering if I was watching the same all the 5 star reviewers saw!)
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Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] by Frantisek Vlacil (Blu-ray - 2013)
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