14 August 2016 | berberian00-276-69085
Benyovszky Is Not a Tell-Tale Story
I remember watching this TV serial in the late 1970s. Explicitly, it was outstanding because it relayed adventures in far away countries yet it's heroes were of Slav nationality. The Slav civilization has always been dominated by the Russian Empire, the way it hold sway under Romanov Dynasty. Other nationalities were less important and thus appeared the myth of oppressed Central Europe. Oppressed by whom? Most notably, these were the powers of "European Concert" - i.e., Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia designated as Empires that ruled right till the end of World War I. Turkey, or Ottoman Empire could also be attributed to this list.
This is history in short upon which had developed events in "Vivat, Benyovszky" (1975), where Count Móric de Benyovszky /1746-1786/ is real time adventurer and explorer of distant lands. The Age of Geographic Discoveries materialized new continents and some new cultural entities that bewildered the scholastic European mind of Middle Ages. Those were times where Church and Kingship were omnipotent. Nationalism was thought as sign of rebellion and thus appeared patriots that fought for independence and sovereignty. The processes in Central Europe or "Mitteleuropa" were identical to those in United States of America, who made their "Declaration of Independence" in 1776 against the forces of British Empire. I reckon this clarify the red line of the Movie under comment.
Let me try to shortly debrief the contents of the Film. I will ostensibly imply that it's running plot is somewhat different from the sketch about Móric de Benyovszky in Wikipedia. The nobleman from Slovak-Hungarian-Polish extraction is Hussar from the Habsburg army during the reign of Empress Maria Theresia. He is accused of association with Polish nobles (Szlachta) against Russian occupation of Polish lands. He is arrested by Russian authorities and sent to exile in Siberia - the colony of Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka. There he manages to organize a bounty, catches a Russian corvette and sails away from the Arctic territories. He reaches Madagascar and gets employed as French Lieutenant. There he gets involved in a local skirmish, where two French soldiers rape and kill the Malgashi chief's son and his fiancée. Benyovszky delivers the two perpetrators to Malagasy tribe where an old chief adopts him for his lost son and summons him to become ruler. Benyovszky accepts and starts negotiating with the French but is killed as reprisal. The Film ends with the Malgashi attacking and killing the French colonists.
This is not a tell-tale story but real man adventure. I could easily compare it with Henri Charrière's Papillon story made as Movie. The recent YouTube release of "Vivat, Benyovszky" (1975) in it's total seven episodes is welcome. I don't own a copy of this Movie in DVD. At YouTube I watched it with Slovak soundtrack and though my knowledge of this language is limited I still enjoyed it. The musical score is very good and haunting. There is something that I noticed now. The Film has scenes shot right there on spot in Madagascar. The local people provided supporting staff but obviously some of the Malgashi leaders had to speak Slovak for their roles and those were Czech artists heavily smeared with tar to look black. Funny, isn't it. Enjoy ...