Close Up

24 November 2015: Second Run: The Cremator


Part of Second Run new strand of screenings at Close-Up, presenting a selection of the masterpieces of their catalogue, we are delighted to show Juraj Herz's The Cremator. Mehelli Modi, founder of Second Run, will introduce the film.  

"Second Run are a lifeline for anyone seeking out films mostly hidden from the Western radar. In only ten years, the label has acquired a staggering collection of breathtaking films from the Warsaw Pact countries, but also further east and occasionally right under our nose within the UK." – Peter Strickland  

The Cremator
Juraj Herz
1968 | 95 min | B/W | Digital

"(The film has) a formally inventive nightmare texture which is still striking almost four decades later" – Senses of Cinema  

Juraj Herz's film The Cremator has been described in many ways – as surrealist-inspired horror, as expressionist fantasy, as a dark and disturbing tale of terror. This brilliantly chilling film, a mix of Dr Strangelove and Repulsion, is set in Prague during the Nazi occupation. It tells the story of Karl Kopfrkingl (Rudolf Hrušínský), a professional cremator, for whom the political climate allows free rein to his increasingly deranged impulses for the "salvation of the world".  

"(...) from the opening seconds I fell under the spell of this curious mantra of death. There's too much to recommend: the brilliant detail and delirious wide angles of Stanislav Milota's cinematography, Zdeněk Liška's choral reveries, the brutal collage of the opening credits, Jaromir Janacek's wonderfully disconcerting editing and of course, Rudolf Hrušínský in elated form as the errant and suspiciously health-conscious Mr. Kopfrkingl, the titular Cremator. Both ludicrous and malevolent, The Cremator is an irresistibly septic meditation on death and the hideous lure of fascism. I've never seen a film display such morbid euphoria." – Peter Strickland