Ranked among the five best Slovak films by Slovak and Czech film critics, Juraj Jakubisko's long-repressed tale of love, death and insanity focuses on the unconventional relationship between two men and a Jewish orphan girl (Marketa Lazarová's eponymous Magda Vášáryová) as they travail a war-torn landscape of bombed-out churches and wrecked homes. Their triangular relationship echoes Truffaut's Jules et Jim - but Jakubisko's protagonists have no romantic ideals; they are all orphans, products of an absurd world in which war, violence and death predominate.
Shot immediately after the Soviet invasion of 1968, with references to key episodes in Slovak and contemporary history, and studded with cultural and historical references, the film evokes the cinema of Godard and Buñuel - and the anarchic air of Chytilová's Daisies. Jakubisko's exhilarating and free-wheeling film is by turns playful, surreal and, finally, increasingly nightmarish. Regarded by authorities as 'decadent and harmful art', the film was banned until the very end of the Communist regime in 1989. Forty-years on, it remains, both politically and formally, one of the most radical films of the Czechoslovak New Wave.
The DVD is presented in a superb new HD digital transfer with restored picture and sound and features a new essay on the film by author Peter Hames.
• Presented from a superb new high-definition restoration of thefilm.
• 20-page booklet featuring a new essay by author and film programmer Peter Hames.
• New and improved English subtitle translation.
• Released for the first time on home video in the English-speaking world.
• Optimal quality dual-layer disc.
Magda Vášáryová - Marta
Jiří Sýkora - Yorick
Philippe Avron - Andrej
Míla Beran - Landlord
Françoise Goldité - Saša
Mikuláš Ladižinský - Partisan
Directed by Juraj Jakubisko
Story and screenplay - Juraj Jakubisko, Karol Sidon
Cinematography - Igor Luther
Music - Zdeněk Liška
Editors - Maximilián Remeň, Bob Wade
Sound - Alexander Pallós
Art direction - Anton Krajčovič
Costumes - Milena Doskočová, Helena Anýžová
Producer - Samy Halfon
Executive producers - Ján Svikruha, Ján Tomaškovič
1969 Sorrento Film Festival / Golden Siren Award
1973 Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival / Second Prize: Best Director
1990 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival / FIPRESCI Prize
2000 Ranked among the five best Slovak films by Slovak and
Czech film critics
"The films of Juraj Jakubisko are amongst the most significant creative achievements of Slovak cinema... An extravagant visionary" The Cinema of Central Europe
"A mad universe of surrealist tableaux and bizarre actions… this unconventional fantasy blends dream and reality, tenderness and cruelty… A delirious tour de force"
Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art
"What an astonishing rediscovery Juraj Jakubisko's Birds, Orphans and Fools is!" Tom Birchenough, The Arts Desk
"It becomes obvious in seconds why director Juraj Jakubisko is known as 'the Slovak Fellini' and has also attracted comparisons with Peter Greenaway, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Emir Kusturica and Sergo Parajanov... Filled with dazzling, hallucinatory images but suppressed until the Velvet Revolution unlocked the vaults, this is another extraordinary rediscovery of Slovak cinema" Michael Brooke, MovieMail