Archive of films Marketa Lazarová / Marketa Lazarová

1967, 162 min

Section: Out of the Past
Year: 2011

Thanks to the method František Vláčil adopted for his film narrative, this pivotal work of Czech cinema, now wonderfully restored, is not only a uniquely authentic and powerful exploration into the past but also a disquieting and timeless testimony of the burden and impenetrability of the human lot, exposed to the perpetual conflict of opposites.


To encounter this opus by František Vláčil, even after the 44 years since it was first screened, is a profound experience, particularly for seasoned audiences who don’t perceive film language merely as a means of communication. In order to create an authentic evocation of the early Middle Ages, the director creatively took advantage of all the cinematic artillery exploited at the time, while also developing, interweaving, and combining these techniques in bold new ways. He was similarly innovative in his approach to the narrative, arranging the story into numerous episodes, each expressively brought to life through the subjective perspective of one of the wide range of characters with their varying dispositions. Vláčil thus forces the viewer to immerse himself in the spirit of a distant age, and to experience its atmosphere with uncommon intensity. He achieved his objective of making a powerful "historical documentary,” creating along with it a multi-layered, poetic parable about the tragedy and sublimity of human destiny.

About the director

František Vláčil (1924–1999) created films essentially based on original screenplays yet, among the two dozen or so examples of his work, he did occasionally choose literary models. He would return several times to recent or more remote periods in history and, through their evocation, he would combine his knowledge of history with an ability to bring his captivating fantasy visions to the screen. His ability to powerfully bring the past to life is characteristic for all his pictures - The Devil’s Trap (1961), The Valley of the Bees (1967), Adelheid (1969), Shadows of a Hot Summer (1977), Shades of Fern (1984), The Magician (1987) - and culminated with his splendid polyphonic drama Marketa Lazarová (1967).


National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic

About the film

Black & white, DCP

Section: Out of the Past
Director: František Vláčil
Screenplay: František Pavlíček, František Vláčil
Dir. of Photography: Bedřich Baťka
Music: Zdeněk Liška
Editor: Miroslav Hájek
Producer: Josef Ouzký
Production: Filmové studio Barrandov
Cast: Josef Kemr, František Velecký, Magda Vášáryová, Ivan Palúch, Vlastimil Harapes, Vladimír Menšík, Zdeněk Kryzánek, Zdeněk Řehoř, Pavel Landovský, Karla Chadimová
Contact: National Film Archive


Magdaléna Vášáryová


Jana Přikrylová

Film Institution Rep.


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