Machaty's silent second feature takes a simple, linear, fable-like story - a young woman's passage from girlhood to knowledge, from countryside to city, and from sentimental gullibility to a more level-headed, prudent sensibility - and invests it with a tumult of emotions: lust, longing, shame, jealousy, despair, courage and confusion. The plot might be knottier melodrama than Machaty's Extase, but its potentially sensational aspects remain subservient to the director's themes of emotional conflict and compromise. The daughter of a railway station guard, having run away after being seduced and left her pregnant, finds shelter with a gallant (if not so captivating) rescuer who has saved her from rape. But what really distinguishes the film is its wealth of poetic detail (merging raindrops, charging trains), and its bold, frank eroticism, most notably in the opening sequence of the girl's sexual initiation, with its luminous whites and ecstatic throes set almost in abstraction from her world hitherto. The film was censored, of course. This is the near-complete restoration made in 1993, and comes accompanied by Jan Klusák's score, performed by five members of the Czech Film Symphony Orchestra.
Cast and crew
Ita Rina Olaf Fjord Karel Schliechert Theodor Pistek Charlotte Susa Luigi Serventi