24 November 2004 | cases
Soviet art movie
This TV miniseries is based on the book "La légende et les aventures héroïques, joyeuses et glorieuses d'Ulenspiegel et de Lamme Goedzak au pays de Flandres et ailleurs", by belgian XIX century author Charles de Coaster, which, in turn is based on the popular German renaissance text "Ein kurzweiliges Buch von Till Eulenspiegel aus dem Lande Braunschweig", by Hermann Bote. The story is set at the time of religious wars and turmoils following the protestant reformation and the hero fights for the freedom of his country from Spanish occupation and from the holy inquisition. The fist parts of the film are devoted to showing the atmosphere of oppression in the Netherlands at the time, with people being reported to the inquisition by envious neighbors and burned at the stake on flimsy excuses, when the real goal is for the king to get hold of their riches. Obviously this must have been a "hot theme" for soviet citizens even in the seventies, and it might be the reason why the film is so effective, though I wonder how it passed censorship. The whole film is spectacularly shot, in the tradition of the best Russian film-making, but probably the most monumental scene is at the end, when Til drives a ship into a flooded town. This film is probably very hard to come by, unless you live in one of the ex-socialist countries, but if you do manage to see it you won't regret it.