Uměl využít i cizí podněty na vlastní inspiraci. Je to patrné hlavně v románové novele Drak sa vracia, která patří k základním dílům slovenského naturismu. Find Dragon’s Return (Drak sa vracia) (The Return of Dragon) [ NON-USA The story based on Dobroslav Chrobák s s novella – was later adapted by. Figuli’s Tn’ gas’tanové hone (Three Chestnut-coloured horses, ) Frantisek Svantner’s Mcilka (), and Dobroslav Chrobak’s Drak sa vracia (Dragon.
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It begins with a portentously scored circular pan of a remote mountainous region during a deliberately unspecified period za history, which concludes just as a lone male figure drifts into frame. Dwarfed by the landscape, he has his back to us and is standing next to the twisted remains of a tree that may or may not have expressionist value.
The unsettling music continues as a woman prepares a meal in her white-walled home, then pauses her actions and seems to sense something; a presence, perhaps, a troubling disruption to her everyday norm. As if responding directly to the woman’s curious glance, the figure briefly seen in the opening shot turns to a reveal a stern and weather-beaten face, one sporting a black eye-patch and a livid facial scar.
It’s a countenance that seems to ooze trouble from every pore. What has actually prompted the man to turn his head is local man Zachar, who has just rolled up on the back of a horse-drawn cart and offers the man a lift to the village located at the foot of the mountain.
Zachar clearly does and belts off towards the village at a frantic gallop. By the time Dragon arrives in the village under his own steam, the local menfolk are gathered in the pub and are debating what to do about his worrying return. She serves him food, which he is unable to eat. The conviction that Dragon is a bitter avenger with a terrible past who is biding his time before unleashing who knows what on these peaceable locals is enhanced when he walks into the pub and all conversation immediately ceases.
He walks up to the bar, swallows a couple of drinks, chews briefly on some food and silently departs.
Kamarát Jašek. Drak sa vracia
From the moment he leaves he is the topic of fevered conversation. Just what is going on here? Not, it turns out, what the film has used our own media-formed preconceptions have led us to suspect. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Books and worms and more: The Return of the Dragon
And here’s where it gets a little tricky for me, as to say much more would involve delivering an unfair sprinkling of spoilers. The dobroslwv unfolding of the truth, primarily through a series of hauntingly executed and precisely drsk flashbacks, constitutes one of the film’s principal pleasures, as they force us to re-evaluate everything we’ve seen and re-examine how and why we found it so easy to interpret events and characters the way that we did. But this does make if difficult for me to comment on what happens in the film’s second half without discussing plot points that should ideally not be revealed in advance.
A morality fracia, then. As unconventional and operatically haunting as Popol Vuh’s famously dreamlike music for Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of Godit has a transformative effect on the action it underscores, infusing even the calmest scenes with a discomforting sense of almost apocalyptic and even alien menace, and landscapes with an air of sometimes spiritual wonder.
So wedded is the music to the visuals that, as Jonathan Owen highlights in the accompanying booklet, there are times when the score and the sound effects seem to meld into each other, and others when one element of the soundtrack becomes so purposefully dominant that all other sound and occasionally all sound is pushed into silence. Most memorable of all is a handsomely executed flashback shot that sweeps up to and around Dragon and Eva, an emotive camera movement that is later repeated in modified form with different participants to powerful effect, coming to rest as the distant and indistinct figure of Dragon slips tellingly into frame.
Sorry, but you’ll need to see the film to understand why this delivers such a kick. Repeatedly the two appear to turn and look at each other despite their locational distance, a technique that suggests an almost telepathic bond but later feels more triggered by specific memories.
Elsewhere a combination of imagery, sound and a single edit is employed to subtly suggest a link between the pagan rituals of female villager elders, the roaring fire of Dragon’s kiln, and the burning forest in which the village’s cowherd is trapped. Each time I drew something new from the film and saw specific elements in a different light — I was three viewings in before it struck me that it also played as a still too-relevant story of a creative mind ostracised by a community swathed in superstition and ignorance.
My reluctance to specifically discuss aspects of the film for fear of spoiling things for newcomers means that I’ve only scratched and dug a little bit below the surface of what this remarkable work has to offer. Fans of 60s Slovak cinema should need no further persuading, and for those of you who have yet to experience its varied and often thrilling delights, this is a damn fine place to start.
The Return of Dragon () – IMDb
Although the result of a new high definition restoration, it’s worth remembering that the film has been effectively off the radar for a good many years and it seems unlikely that the restoration team had pristine original materials to work with. There is thus some variance in the image sharpness, which while seriously impressive on close-ups can soften a little in some of the wide shots.
There is some slight flickering visible here and there and the contrast just occasionally feels just a little too punchy the black levels are solid throughoutbut in all other respects this is a very fine transfer. The best material really does look good.
The framing is 1. An Introduction to the Film by Peter Hames His analysis of the film’s many dtak is detailed and perceptive, with specific coverage of the music score, the camerawork, the film’s intriguing blend of folklore and modernism, and more.
There are no real spoilers, but clips from the film’s final scene are included. You’ll get more from it then anyway.
Obviously not everyone is as enthusiastic for Czech and Slovak cinema as we are here at Outsider, but for those who thrill at discovering films from years past that leave much of what we tend to be served up today looking flat and unadventurous, this is another must-have from this most dobrosoav of UK distributors. The return of a man to a remote mountain village has the locals in a panic — veacia who is he and why does his presence inspire such fear? Slarek takes a trip back in time and basks in this remarkable blend of folklore and modernism.
Introduction by Peter Hames. See all of Slarek’s reviews.