Three tales of war, the first being by far the best. A young WWI soldier flees from the battlefield carnage and returns to the native village he has dreamed of as a haven of peace. But his return sparks off violent dissensions; he is betrayed to the Hussars as a deserter; and soon the whole village is a welter of brutal killings. With colour and images guided by folk art and a tang of surrealism, Jakubisko shapes his material into a sort of medieval death's jest-book, with Death himself - a grinning, skull-like refugee from a Bergman film - eagerly waiting to reap his harvest. Technique unfortunately begins to run rather wild in the rest of the film, all zooms, filters, distortions and wild arabesques. But the main problem is that the two remaining stories (WWII and a future nuclear holocaust) tend to ram home the message about the continuing horrors of war with a dull thud. An extraordinary, offbeat movie all the same.
You may also like