1972 101 mins
Subtitles : English
“A dark fairytale bursting with extravagance — baroque garden parties, dramatic eye makeup, vintage tarot cards, fish-eye lenses — absolutely breathtaking stuff and a fitting gateway to Herz’ brilliant ouevre” – Kier-La Janisse, HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN
“A delirious and atmospheric fairy tale of jealousy and greed, poison and mirrors, good and evil” – Rhiannon Dalglish, SENSES OF CINEMA
Twin sisters Klara and Viktoria couldn’t be any different if they tried, despite the fact they are identical twins (both characters played by Iva Janzurová). While Klara is sweet, sociable, and innocent, her sibling Viktoria is her mirror image: dark, brooding, bitter, and jealous. It’s perhaps not surprising that Viktoria feels so hard done by, when you consider her sister has not only inherited all of the family fortune, but now has the potential to put a spoke in her romantic wheels as well. What follows is a deliciously dark and decadent tale about female revenge and sibling rivalry, packed full of Gothic gaslighting, uncanny doubles, black cats, and sly humour.
Adding a distinctly psychedelic Gothic grotesque twist to his filmic adaptation of Alexander Grin’s original novel, Slovakian director Juraj Herz (THE CREMATOR
, 1969) proves why he was the Czechslovakian master of dark fantasy and horror with the deliciously decadent MORGIANA
(1972). This was no mean feat considering that throughout the Soviet bloc, under Postwar communist rule, there was no commercial horror genre to speak of at all. And yet, Herz never let that stop him when it came to experimenting with dark themes in fantasy, fairy tale, drama, and even black comedy. Although his films consciously mixed differing style elements, and so each and every one has its own particular mood, darkness became a unifying theme for the director.
, Herz employs gaudy colour and unconventional camera techniques, such as tracking shots via a cat’s-eye point of view — thanks to New Wave legendary cinematographer Jaroslav Kucera (DAISIES
, 1966) — to construct a fairy tale for adults like no other. As with many of the director’s works in this arena the film is simultaneously delightful and perverse, playful and disturbing. Presented in a new 2K restoration by Národní filmový archiv, courtesy of Severin Films. – Kat Ellinger