A rising political death cult entangles with personal morbidity in Juraj Herz's deeply disturbing black comic parable. THE CREMATOR is set in 1930s Prague, where Nazi ideology hangs as thick as the charnel fumes over the crematorium run by the troubled Karel Kopfrkingl (Rudolf Hrušínský, in a skin-crawling performance). Adapting a Ladislav Fuks novel and utilizing the estimable talents of cinematographer Stanislav Milota, Herz connects the Czechoslovak New Wave groundswell to the legacy of German Expressionism in this macabre and harrowing work of psychological and social breakdown, banned after its 1969 debut only to re-emerge and garner deserved praise as a masterwork 20 years later after the crumbling of the Czechoslovak communist system. (Note courtesy of Metrograph/Nick Pinkerton.) DIR/SCR Juraj Herz; SCR Ladislav Fuks, from his novel; PROD Ladislav Hanuš. Czechoslovakia, 1969, b&w, 95 min. In Czech with English subtitles. NOT RATED
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