Witchhammer (Otaka Vávra, 1970)

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A bloody and not un-provocative drama at the tail-end of the Czechosolvakian New Wave, acting clearly as a warning to other filmmakers of the movement about governments by no means above breaking butterflies on the wheel. Witchhammer – very much the Communist Crucible – is a strange combination of a very earnest political message and a very prevalent male gaze. I’m certain the relatively low rating (by Czechoslovak standards) I’ve given it will increase by at least half a star next watching and, at 103 minutes, I think it could make a very interesting B-feature to the superior epic Markéta Lazarova.

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