Sunday, May 27, 2012
Lokis. Rekopis profesora Wittembacha (1970)
I hope you accept I will refer Lokis. Rekopis profesora Wittembacha to the shorter and easier to remember title Lokis for the rest of the review? Of all the European countries often
made the most unusual genre productions during the Iron Curtain area. Maybe
more dramas than genre, but often very interesting and thought-provoking. While
the sci-fi's from the east block always been hailed as the best ever much less
is said about their horror movies. Lokis is, like most of the others, a very
slow-moving story set in the past... Poland
Edmund Fetting plays the German Pastor Wittembach on his way through
research about folklore. On a train he meets an old countress (Zofia Mrozowska)
who invites him to her family castle. Her son, a young count (Józef Duriasz),
is a pale man who acts odd, but is nice and polite to his guests. He seem to
have an aversion against smaller animals and catches everyone he sees and puts
them in cages. In the castle a doctor Froeber (Gustaw Lutkiewicz) takes care of
the countess, going more and more mad. He tells the good pastor that among the
villagers they believe that she got raped by a bear and that the young count is
a werebear! Estonia
Oh, don't expect a raging werebear slaughtering people. This is very far from a traditional horror movie. It has horror themes, but is more of a wicked, dark drama, about a fucked-up family on the countryside. If you start watching this movie like one of Corman's Poe-movies, but with a big twist of social-realism and no special effects you won't be disappointed.
What's more interesting is how the atmosphere creeps up on you. You sense that there's something wrong all the time, but it's not until the last half hour characters gets darker and the ugly face of reality. I love how the pastors stays there even if he starts to hate the family and only cares about the rare books in their collection and how the doctor gets more and more cynical, pretending nothing is wrong - but playing around with the family like the characters on a chess board.
The last minutes of the movie is the most eerily, with a doomed final scene - very sad and emotional. Both because it shows the cruelty of humanity and the how some people always seems doomed whatever they do. Brilliant stuff.
Lokis is a very Polish movie. The characters are very black, cynical and close to emotionally psychopathic - like all humans are deep inside, but without that Happy Happy Joy Joy-mask that I personally hate so much. The art of acting is very similar to the
with excellent performances down to the smallest supporting part. It's not
about being a star, it's about telling a story - and the Polish never
disappoints me there. UK