Promotional release poster
|Directed by||František Vláčil|
|Produced by||Josef Ouzký|
|Screenplay by||František Pavlíček, František Vláčil|
|Based on||Marketa Lazarová|
by Vladislav Vančura
|Narrated by||Zdeněk Štěpánek|
|Music by||Zdeněk Liška|
|Edited by||Miroslav Hájek|
|Distributed by||Ústřední půjčovna filmů|
|Box office||5,200,000 Kčs|
Marketa Lazarová is a 1967 Czechoslovak historical film directed by František Vláčil. It is an adaptation of the novel Marketa Lazarová (1931) by Vladislav Vančura. The film takes place in an indeterminate time during the Middle Ages, and tells the story of a daughter of a feudal lord who is kidnapped by neighbouring robber knights and becomes a mistress of one of them.
Theodor Pištěk designed the costumes for the film.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Themes
- 4 Production
- 5 Soundtrack
- 6 Differences between the film and novel
- 7 Release
- 8 Reception
- 9 Legacy
- 10 Other adaptations
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The sons of the robber clan patriarch Kozlík ambush a small caravan travelling to the nearby Mladá Boleslav in winter. One man escapes, turning out to be the new Bishop of Hennau and an important ally of the Czech king, while the two captives the clan takes are the Bishop's son and his assistant. Mikoláš, one of the sons, encounters the neighboring clan leader Lazar scavenging at the site of the ambush. He threatens to kill Lazar, but spares him as he prays to Christ to forgive Mikoláš. He returns to his settlement where his father, Kozlík, grows furious at him for allowing a man to escape, not killing Lazar, and bringing captives. As Mikolas leaves Kozlik, Adam points out his other mistake in not capturing the old bishop when he had the chance and that their family could've used him as leverage to force the Czech king to comply to their demands. Kozlik overhears this exchange, orders Adam to leave and drags Mikolas back to the main house to confront him. Alexandra takes a liking to the Bishop's young son, Kristian, much to Adam's detest.
Later, Kozlík reaches the settlement after being chased by wolves through a forest. He had answered summons from the king and upon his arrival to Mladá Boleslav, the king's captain attempted to take him into custody. Anticipating a regiment led by the captain, the clan abandons the settlement and moves deeper into the forest. Mikoláš visits Lazar's settlement, urging him to help Kozlík ambush the regiment. Lazar's young virgin daughter Markéta is shocked to see her father's men brutally beat Mikoláš, who is then allowed to leave. When he returns, Kozlík sends a small group of men to avenge the beating. They turn back upon finding that the regiment has already arrived to Lazar's settlement and shoot down the captain's closest knight as he rides to meet them. The captain swears justice and vengeance.
Lazar and Markéta visit the nunnery, but Lazar has failed to bring the required amount of money to allow Markéta to take vows and explaining to the Abbess that he's had a rough year. When they return to their settlement, Mikoláš and his men have already captured it. They kill Lazar's mentally disabled son and Lazar begs for his life. Mikolas agrees to spare him as long as he gives up Markéta to him. Despite his protest, Mikolas leaves with his army and her in tow after nailing Lazar to the gate. Upon returning to his clan's forest stronghold, Mikoláš rapes Markéta and then protects her from his father's wrath. Meanwhile, a romance has developed between the Bishop's captive son Kristián and Kozlík's daughter Alexandra, whom he impregnantes. She had some time ago had an affair with her brother, Adam, and of which their mother, Katarina, found out and told Kozlik. As punishment for the incestuous affair, Adam lost an arm as a result and Alexandra has since refused another affair with him. Kozlík now chains Mikoláš and Markéta, who are falling in love, together with Kristián and Alexandra on a hill outside the fortress.
When the captain's regiment arrives with Adam whom they had captured, Kozlík allows the four back inside. After an initial rash attack in which Adam dies is repulsed, the Captain mounts a second attack which succeeds. Kristián sees Alexandra chased by dogs and is torn in his loyalty to his father and his love for her, running off into the forest. Bernard having watched this encourages him to fight for Alexandra and eventually he does. Mikoláš, Markéta, and Alexandra escape while Kozlík is taken captive to Mladá Boleslav. Kristian confronts his father, explaining that he loves Alexandra and that they will have a child. Later on, she comes across Kristián with his head crushed by a rock and tries to bury his body. Alexandra is stopped by his father who blames her for the murder and she is arrested. Markéta return home to her father, who survived his crucifixion, but he rejects her. She travels to the nunnery and begins to take her vows just as Mikoláš attempts to free his father from the castle dungeon. One of Kozlik's grandsons find her in the nunnery and takes her arm. She leaves during the ceremony to find Mikoláš dying in the castle courtyard from wounds suffered in the rescue attempt. The captain marries Mikoláš and Markéta on the spot before his men take Kozlík away and Mikoláš dies. Brother Bernard finds her in the open fields and offers to travel with Marketa to find a new life. In the final scene, Markéta wanders the countryside as the narrator reveals that both she and Alexandra had sons. Markéta nursed both boys, implying that Alexandra died after giving birth, perhaps committing suicide.
Cast and characters
|Narrator (voice)||Zdeněk Štěpánek|
|Kozlík||Josef Kemr||A bandit knight who resides at Roháček. He is Lazar's rival. His clan has to face the royal army.|
Petr Kostka (voice)
|Kozlík's second born son and the protagonist of the film. He is considered to be Kozlík's successor. He abducts Marketa and eventually marries her.|
Ladislav Trojan (voice)
|Kozlík's son who was in a relationship with his sister, Alexandra. He lost an arm when his father, Kozlik found out about it and later banished him. Resented Alexandra for returning the love of their family's prisoner, Kristian.|
Karolina Slunéčková (voice)
|Kozlík's daughter who was in a relationship with her brother Adam. After Kozlik found out about it, he punished Alexandra by making her stare in Adam's eyes as he cuts off his left arm. She falls in love with Kristián, a prisoner of her family.|
Martin Růžek (voice)
|Marketa's father who is a bandit knight but rejects to help Kozlík and eventually helps the royal army. When Kozlik found out along with for the death of his first-born son, Jan, and the attack on Mikolas, he sent a small army to deal with Lazar|
|Marketa Lazarová||Magda Vášáryová
Gabriela Vránová (voice)
|The only daughter of Lazar and Jakub's younger sister. She is a naive girl who Lazar gives away to the Church so she can train as a nun. She is abducted by Mikoláš and becomes his mistress. She eventually falls in love with him and they get married before his execution.|
|Kristián||Harry Studt||Saxon Count whose son is abducted by Kozlík's sons.|
|Son of a Saxon noble who is taken prisoner by Kozlík's clan. He falls in love with Alexandra.|
|Captain Pivo||Zdeněk Kryzánek||The leader of the royal army who is sent against Kozlík. He is tasked to rescue Kristián. He later marries Mikoláš to Marketa.|
|Sovička||Zdeněk Řehoř||Pivo's second in command. He is attracted to Marketa. He is killed by Kozlík's sons.|
Antonie Hegerliková (voice)
|Bernard||Vladimír Menšík||Wandering monk who serves as a viewer of the events in the film. He didn't appear in the novel.|
|Priory||Karla Chadimová||The Abbess at the Catholic Church who Lazar gives Marketa away.|
|Jan||Jaroslav Moučka||Kozlík's first born son whom was next in line to succeed his father and was killed by Pivo in an attempt to confront Lazar.|
|Jiří||Karel Vašíček||Kozlík's son.|
|Smil||Pavel Landovský||Kozlík's son.|
|Burjan||Ladislav Považay||Kozlík's son.|
|Václav||Martin Mrázek||Kozlík's son.|
|Reiner||Zdeněk Kutil||Count's butler|
|Šimon||Václav Sloup||Jan's son.|
|Drahuše||Alena Pavlíková||Kozlík's daughter.|
|Jakub||Zdeněk Lipovčan||Lazar's mentally challenged son. Unlike Marketa, Jakub is resented by Lazar.|
|Royal soldiers||Majka-Čech||Soldiers of Pivo's regiment|
The film is set in medieval Bohemia at a time when Christianity had not fully replaced Paganism. Conflict between Christianity and Paganism, mirroring a conflict between the clans and central authority, is a major theme. The Kozlík clan leans toward Paganism while the royal regiment represent Christianity and authority. Meanwhile, Lazar's clan is nominally Christian but politically neutral. Kozlík wants Lazar to support him in the fight but Lazar refuses and sides with the king, leading to the abduction of his daughter.
Similarly, the romance between Markéta and Mikoláš, who rapes her but later protects and loves her, represents a meeting of purity and innocence with worldly violence. The film highlights Mikoláš's ferocity and unrestrainment. This interplays with the romance between Mikoláš's sister Alexandra and Kristián, in which the roles are reversed. Kristián's love for Alexandra contradicts Mikoláš's love for Marketa; he is uncertain in it due to his loyalty to his father.
Royal scenes that were cut from the film were supposed to show contradictions between the Kozlík clan and the royal family. Their difference was to be shown in a struggle for property and power. Desire for the crown leads to hatred between brothers and of sons towards their father, common in big royal families but not in small families. The film also shows conflict between Mikoláš and Adam. Neither is the oldest son but they are both likely candidates to replace Kozlík as clan leader.
Before production started, František Vláčil and František Pavlíček had to transfer the novel into screenplay. The text of the book was linguistically difficult and the transfer took a few years. The whole works on Marketa Lazarová took seven years.
Production itself took three years. The shooting started in 1964 and concluded in 1966. It took 548 days. The film was shot at multiple places in the current Czech Republic such as Lánská obora, Mrtvý luh and Klokočín Castle. Shooting took place during extreme conditions of tough winter. The intended budget was 7 million crowns but the film cost almost 13 million crowns in the end. The expensiveness of the film was one of the reasons for making The Valley of the Bees in which Vláčil used costumes and decorations intended for Marketa Lazarová. The film was finished in 1967. Some parts were shot in Slovakia.
The film was originally intended to be longer. Vláčil wanted to make scenes named "Royal Pictures". These were supposed to be set at the royal court. These would feature the Czech king Wenceslaus I of Bohemia and the conflict between him and his son Ottokar II of Bohemia. These scenes were never filmed because the budget was already too high and the film would be longer than three hours.
The first picture would show old Kristián coming to the Royal Court asking for help to save his son. Present nobels would blame the king for being passive in the matter. The second picture would be set two years prior to the events. It would show the prince being convinced to overthrow his father. The prince would then start remembering when his father returned from a hunt injured and met his sons. The prince was afraid of him. Another picture would be set in the aftermath of the film's events. Pivo brings old Kristián and Alexandra to the king. Alexandra is to be punished for murdering young Kristián but old Kristián asks to pardon her because of her pregnancy. The king orders the prince to be brought to the court. The prince was imprisoned after his attempt to overthrow the king. Pivo starts remembering events of the military campaign against Kozlík. The king unsuccessfully tries to humiliate his son; the question of pardon for Alexandra becomes a secondary matter as the conflict between king and prince becomes a conflict about conception of rule. The king leaves the decision about pardon to Alexandra to Kristián.
The music for Marketa Lazarová was composed by Zdeněk Liška. It is based on medieval composition. There are motives of Gregorian chant. The music emphasizes the conflict between the Christian and the Pagan world.
The soundtrack was released in 1996 as part of edition by publishers ZÓNA and BONTON Music. The soundtrack was preserved only in a film strip so it had to be taken of the strip and reconstructed. It was divided into 17 relatively independent compositions. Dialogues couldn't be removed from the compositions. The names of compositions are mostly based on chapters of the film.
In 2015, Petr Ostrouch was permitted by Liška's descendants to make a concert of music from Marketa Lazarová. It was held on 9 October 2015 at Karlín. It was part of the musical festival Struny podzimu (Strings of Autumn).
|Num||Original Name||English Name||Lengh|
|2.||Říšská Cesta||Imperial Way||3:03|
|3.||Pan Lazar||Mr. Lazar||4:36|
|4.||Na Roháčku||At Roháček||3:55|
|5.||Rajská Sonáta||The Sonata of Paradise||3:37|
|7.||Dcera Lazarova||Lazar's Daughter||6:35|
|8.||Hejtman Pivo||Captain pivo||3:13|
|9.||V Klášteře||In the Monastery||3:07|
|12.||Pod Šancí||Under Šance||2:38|
|13.||Dubový Háj||Oak Grove||7:15|
|14.||Návrat Na Obořiště||Return to Obořiště||3:19|
|15.||Boží Milost||God's Grace||8:05|
|16.||Marketina Svatba||Marketa's Marriage||3:32|
Differences between the film and novel
The film is based on Vladislav Vančura's novel of the same name. The film isn't a faithful adaptation and there are many differences. The film includes some elements from Obrazy z dějin národa českého that weren't present in the Marketa Lazarová novel. The character of Monk Bernard and the unrealised Royal Pictures originate from Obrazy z dějin národa českého.
The novel wasn't a historically accurate capture of the age of setting. The film tries to be more historically accurate wanted to capture the world of 13th century. It was visible in the Royal Pictures that was to be set at the Royal Court of Wenceslaus I of Bohemia.
Another major difference is that Alexandra's fate is left unresolved in the film. This was caused by the removal of the Royal Pictures that would include her trial at the royal court and suicide.
The film premiered on 24 November 1967. The film was watched by 1.3 million people in theaters. The film was inaccessible for a long period of time after it left Cinemas.
On 30 August 1974, Marketa Lazarová premiered in the United States. It was shortened to 100 minutes for the American market. Reviews for this version were mixed. The film's reputation was restored after the original version was made available in the United States in 2011.
The digitized version of Marketa Lazarová premiered at 2011 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The film was then distributed in cinemas since 13 October 2011. The premiere was presented by Magdaléna Vášáryová. Vašáryová stated that she was moved by the number of young people who expressed interest in the film.
In 2009, Bontonfilm announced it will release Marketa Lazarová for DVD and Blu-ray. Bontonfilm didn't have enough finances for digitisation and thus cancelled the plan. The situation changed in 2011, when Prague Studio UPP digitized the film. The film was released in the Czech Republic for DVD on 8 December 2011. The film was released worldwide on DVD and Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection in 2012.
The film has received universal acclaim from critics. It has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 11 reviews. Average rating is 94%. In 1968, the magazine Film a doba held a survey of film critics to choose the best Czechoslovak film of 1967. Marketa Lazarová won the survey and received 344 votes, beating films such as Firemens Ball and Daisies. It also received more votes than any film from foreign films category. During Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 1994 Marketa Lazarová was voted the best Czech film ever made. The film was also voted the greatest Czech film of all time in a national critics' poll. Marketa Lazarová also won several awards. It was awarded at Mar del Plata International Film Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival.
The film was also successful with audiences. It was attended by more than 1 million people in Czechoslovak cinemas. Marketa Lazarová was voted best Czech film of 1965-1967 period with 28% of votes in a survey by Týden.cz. The film also placed 5th in a Public survey by Media Desk.
|Date of ceremony||Event||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|1965||Artistic competition at 20th anniversary of Liberation of Czechoslovakia||Writing||František Vláčil, František Pavlíček||Won|||
|1967||Trilobit Award||Best Director||František Vláčil||Won|||
|Design Production||Oldřich Okáč||Won|
|V. Competition for the best musical work for film and television||Main Award||Zdeněk Liška||Won|||
|XVIII. Worker's Film Festival||Cheb Jury Award||Won|||
|Litvínov Jury Award||Won|
|Opava Jury Award||Won|
|Pardubice Audience Award||Won|
|1968||Mar del Plata International Film Festival||Best Film||František Vláčil||Nominated|||
|Little Condor for artistic and historical values||František Vláčil||Won|||
|Minister of Culture Award||Lyrical and artistically inventive work||František Vláčil||Won|||
|Klement Gottwald State Award||Writing and realisation||František Vláčil, František Pavlíček||Won|||
|Financial award for evaluation of Barandov Studio||The most successful film||František Vláčil||Won|||
|Competition of Music Made for Film created in 1967||Main Award||Zdeněk Liška||Won|||
|Edinburgh International Film Festival||Honourable Diploma||Won|||
|1992||Karlovy Vary International Film Festival||Crystal Globe||František Vláčil||Nominated|||
|1994||Film critics poll of Best Czech film ever made||Won|||
|1998||Survey of Czech and Slovak film critics||Best Czech-Slovak film ever made||Won|||
Marketa Lazarová is widely considered the best Czech film ever made and the best film directed by František Vláčil. It is also considered one of the best historical films of all time. The film was already critically acclaimed in 1967 and received many positive reviews and won a survey for the best film. Vláčil himself wasn't satisfied with the film and stated that he expected more. The reason for his dissatisfaction was the failure to realise Royal Pictures as he believed that it was a pivotal part of the film.
There was a survey of journalist during the 1994 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival to choose the best Czech film ever made. Marketa Lazarová won the survey. Another poll was held in 1998. 55 Czech and Slovak film critics and publicists voted Marketa Lazarová the Best Czech-Slovak film of all time. Marketa Lazarová also topped a 2007 survey of Reflex magazine publicists. Týden.cz held surveys to choose the best Czech film of every epoch. Marketa Lazarová was voted the best Czech film of the 1965-1967 period.
Casablanca Publisher released book Marketa Lazarová: Studies and Documents in 2009. It is a study of the film edited by Petr Gajdošík. It consists of various studies, interviews and articles about the film.
In 2005, Petr Soukup and Petr Gajdošík organised a petition for restoration of the film. Bontonfilm company then announced it plans to release the film for DVD in its original technical version. Experts noted that company's procedure could damage the film. Bontonfilm eventually agreed to cooperate with the restoration. A DVD release was announced for April 2011, but due to lack of finances it was canceled.
Prague Studio UPP eventually digitized Marketa Lazarová in 2011. Restorers removed all damage to the film but did not change anything. They worked with the official version of the film, as well as the negative. Restoration cost 2 million Czech crowns. It was financed by the Czech Ministry of Culture and Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The digitized version of the film premiered on 2 July 2011 at Karlovy Vary film festival.
Novel was adapted into a Theatre play in 2013. It peremiered on 16 November 2013 at ABC Theatre. Dramaturgist Věra Mašková stated that the play focuses on emotions and Theatrical Poetry. The play was directed by Pavel Khek, and it starred Veronika Kubářová as Marketa and Tomáš Novotný as Mikoláš. Tomáš Šťástka gave the play 60% in his review for iDnes.cz. He stated that it tries to focus on wider audience and retain medieval brutality. He praised that it managed to show the lyrical side of the novel, but noted that the medieval reality of the novel is in clear contrast with a theatrical environment.
- The Devil's Trap
- List of films considered the best
- List of Czech films considered the best
- List of films with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes
- The Valley of the Bees
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