32. How Unfortunate Are Those Who Die Unaware Of The Beauty Of Music / Lakmé’s Preparation
33. Louis Marin
34. Miss Dagmar’s Room
35. Poor Miss Carska
36. Mournful Cantor (Jewish Prayer)
37. Kopfrkingl Salutes Death
38. Casino On Rose Street
39. Vison Of The Temple
40. Lakmé’s Cremation
41. The Throne In Lhasa Awaits
42. H. Bosch
43. Running Zina / The Stars Are Above Us
44. I Shall Sit On The Throne
Regarded as the final-ever film of the Czech New Wave, Juraj Herz’s Morgiana (alongside Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders) was made after the Prague Spring during Czech cinema’s most scrutinised censorship era deep in the throes of communism. Spearheading a micro-cosmic sub-genre of horror fantasy or scary / fairytales alongside Karel Kachyňa’s Malá Mořská Víla (The Little Mermaid), these directors built a handful of subversive, flamboyant and experimental new films based around classical communist approved surrealist literature; sidestepping creative compromise and uniting some of the leading lights of the FAMU founded film movement for the last time. Both of Luboš Fišer’s inimatable musical scores that unite the films Morgiana and Valerie share doppelgänger production and compositional ideas having been recorded just 18 months apart in 1970 and 1972. Forty years later these musical twin-sisters have been now presented for the first time ever outside of their original cinematic contexts. Revealing tiny shards of identical melodic phrasing, the Morgiana score visits darker hallucinogenic corners for this tale of two sisters seen through the perspective of giallo-esque “cat’s eye” camera work (filmed by Jaroslav Kučera (Daisies) revealing poison induced hysteria fuelled by sibling rivalry and desperately twisted jealousy. Adopting his mysteriously macabre musical persona, the versatile Fišer interweaves chimes, harps and harpsichord with echoing flutes, lutes and piano, applying his signature orchestral tension and experimental percussion traits in the form of treated pianos, vibra-slaps, tape samples of striking matches and spring reverbs to this oblique heady selection.
Drawing similarities with other stark monochrome thrillers such as Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, Herz’s comparatively untravelled classic, 1969 feature film The Cremator (Spalovač mrtvol) also used the apolitical subjects of fantasy and surrealist horror to evade the communist censors overzealous cutting and burning process which poetically echoed the films own macabre and fantastical screenplay. Unifying a cast and crew of some of the Czech New Wave’s leading lights, Herz’s macabre depiction of Ladislav Fuks’ fictional account of a local crematorium boss whose hallucinogenic burning obsession with the afterlife is ignited by the Tibetan Book Of The Dead (and intensifying manipulative Nazi propaganda) is undeniably one of the greatest underexposed European horror films of all time.
Boasting a beguiling score and theme tune that remains one of the most memorable and spine-chilling, by the country’s finest experimental soundtrack composer Zdeněk Liška (Malá Mořská Víla), The Cremator provides the movement with one of its best loved signature scores. Featuring an ongoing partnership with studio conductor František Belfín (Daisies) and soprano singer Vlasta Soumarová Mlejnková (Marketa Lazarová), Liška puts his radical concrete and resampling techniques to one side in favour of celestial choral and orchestral arrangements; menacing giallo-esque tension and recurring rhythmical motifs of Eastern bells and chimes illustrating Rudolf Hrušínský’s Kopfrkingl character’s demise into murderous infatuation and the momentary cameo shots of the hallucinogenic death figure played by Helena Anýzová (Valerie/Daisies).
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