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Juraj Herz's Cremator (1969)


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Hrusinsky is quite good in this one as the Tibetan Buddhism obsessed, German cremator Kropfkringl who dreams of sending people to their afterlife and reincarnation while becoming a "savior" like the Dalai Lama. This one is a good political satire of the Fascists in Czechia and the Sudetenland right before WWII. The film is both horrible and comedic and the gruesome murders of his wife and son are done in a very comical way. The film also uses the very sexually explicit imagery that the Czech new wave was known for which only adds to the perversion. One "comedic" scene is where the cremator praises German Fascism and the very act of death itself at his own wife's funeral while his comrades hail him and cheer him on. The scene where Kropfkringl discusses the beauty of a Jewish ceremony while scapegoating them to his NSDAP comrades in an intercut scene was masterful editing. The soundtrack to this is very beautiful. I feel Terry Gilliam must have been influenced by this film and Czech New Wave films like it because many parts of the soundtrack and cinematography reminded me of Baron Munchausen and some of his other films (including an ending shot and scene that seemed very reminiscent to me of Brazil's). The quality to this one seemed touched up and I liked it. Overall a very great film.

the-cremator-19686368.jpg

 

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It's quite a film.  But I'm surprised/shocked it aired in early evening right before prime time rather than, say, in TCM Underground.  And I'm not going to be surprised if it wasn't supposed to be shown when the listing seems confused between The Cremator (1969; Czech) and The Cremators (1972).  The latter is more in keeping with the sci-fi films that preceded it earlier yesterday.

In other words, I think somebody screwed up.

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13 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

Hrusinsky is quite good in this one as the Tibetan Buddhism obsessed, German cremator Kropfkringl who dreams of sending people to their afterlife and reincarnation while becoming a "savior" like the Dalai Lama. This one is a good political satire of the Fascists in Czechia and the Sudetenland right before WWII. The film is both horrible and comedic and the gruesome murders of his wife and son are done in a very comical way. The film also uses the very sexually explicit imagery that the Czech new wave was known for which only adds to the perversion. One "comedic" scene is where the cremator praises German Fascism and the very act of death itself at his own wife's funeral while his comrades hail him and cheer him on. The scene where Kropfkringl discusses the beauty of a Jewish ceremony while scapegoating them to his NSDAP comrades in an intercut scene was masterful editing. The soundtrack to this is very beautiful. I feel Terry Gilliam must have been influenced by this film and Czech New Wave films like it because many parts of the soundtrack and cinematography reminded me of Baron Munchausen and some of his other films (including an ending shot and scene that seemed very reminiscent to me of Brazil's). The quality to this one seemed touched up and I liked it. Overall a very great film.

the-cremator-19686368.jpg

 

Darn it, I missed it!

The reason I missed it is because TCM had it listed as The Cremators and that one is a very different - and ridiculously bad - movie.

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12 hours ago, NewYorkGuy said:

It's quite a film.  But I'm surprised/shocked it aired in early evening right before prime time rather than, say, in TCM Underground.  And I'm not going to be surprised if it wasn't supposed to be shown when the listing seems confused between The Cremator (1969; Czech) and The Cremators (1972).  The latter is more in keeping with the sci-fi films that preceded it earlier yesterday.

In other words, I think somebody screwed up.

Yeah, I thought it might be the B movie too and that would have made sense but earlier in the day they did show Vampyr and Little Shop of Horrors too and the film does fit into the horror genre.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

I'm about 30 minutes in, and so far this is boring me to tears...hopefully it picks up after my break.

Edit: It didn't. 5/10 for me, and that's being generous. 

Did you at least like the soundtrack? I thought this piece was beautiful.

 

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Just now, Gershwin fan said:

Did you at least like the soundtrack? I thought this piece was beautiful.

 

Yes, the music was good, and appropriately unnerving at times. The cinematography was adventurous, too, attempting to do something different, and it often reflected the main character's deteriorating mental state. 

Usually, if I rate something a 5/10, it means that I recognize that there's merit in the film, but it's just not for me, for whatever reason. As several people have voiced admiration for this movie, I realize that my issues with it are my own, as in I just "didn't get it".

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