spap1’s review published on Letterboxd:
this is going to be a difficult review to write without just going into a rant.
why the fuck do evil people have to be so evil?
the psychical decision making behind being evil.
if we look at the past of evil individuals, they are people who feel as though they have been under appreciated and misunderstood for what they believe themselves to be offering. Hitler was a failed artist, constantly rejected from perusing his dream, Stalin was a man from a poor background, mercilessly picked on by his own highly educated comrades.
there is always something behind that evil. of course, the evil itself is a banal thing, a pathetic little consequence of a failure that stems most deeply down to the raising of a person as well as how society as a whole has nurtured them.
of course the decisions that one may make under this constant pressure may be irrational, but what we must understand is that they do not see the world in the same way that we do, and this would be the first step to us climbing within their mind.
imagine a criminal, a murderer… they’re lurking around a corner holding his weapon in their right hand, using their left hand to prop himself around a corner to scout out the scene of their upcoming crime, meanwhile people walk past, that place signifies a passing moment in their ever passing lives. to the murderer, this is their canvas, the fanciful reality of their passioned ideas.
no matter what they do, they will remain at this distance. even as they walk towards that spot, moving in to draw the blood of their victim, they will remain a spectator to all, watching as though nothing they had done would have consequences, for they are merely watching from an outside view.
their mindful corruption is something that will never be healed, it’s something that justifies killing in cold blood at the height of a warm, bright summers morning. we may find it shocking, we may find them almost stupid, pathetic even, but they do not think in the way the majority of us do.
so yes, evil is of course, by its pure nature, banal, but it is also, like everything else, subjective in its boundaries. what one person may find incomprehensibly evil, another may be able to entirely justify with the power of their own distorted reality. i think what is important when looking forward, and preventing such evil in the future, is not scouting out evil people, but rather looking at the framework of society, looking at the injustices that we face and the effects of them.
to prevent further evil, we must first ‘zoom out’ and reflect upon all that is around us first.
having not heard of him before seeing this, Juraj Herz has overwhelmed me with emotions just from this one, dark, terrifying, even slightly - okay very- funny, film. it grabbed my attention in a way that very few films do, with its complete ridiculousness which soon turned into a journey into the very real, and heartbreaking realities, yet each one is brought and delivered in such a way which guarantees your attention, it commands your every gaze.
the cinematography was absolutely incredible all around, but what was most brilliant were those closeups. it created the image of the diluted mind so perfectly, the instability of ones mental state during this time is made evident by the fact that there is so little room around them to think for themselves, despite the fact that they are all constantly transfixed by their own beings. there is nowhere for them to go and no one for them to be, but then draws along a ‘godlike saviour’, a man who offers them everything if they sacrifice the lives of those around them and the hearts of themselves.
the editing complements the cinematography and refines these ideas further, but it would be rude not to mention it and, in particular, the cuts between scenes. they are quite possibly my favourite thing about this entire film. the way each one merges in with the next, as though one moment in life is just as trite as the next is absolute genius. it actually did disorientate me on multiple occasions. genius.
for its time this film is incredibly ahead when compared to what else was being churned out at the time. it’s the second second film i’ve seen from from the Czechoslovakian new wave - quite possibly also my favourite of the two - and shows truly promising elements throughout.
i lOVEd this.