影評人之選──思覺邊緣:焚屍人 The Cremator new


Choice of Bobby Kwok

焚屍人The Cremator  Spalovač mrtvol

1969 | 捷克斯洛伐克Czechoslovakia | 黑白B&W | 96min | DCP
In Czech with Chinese and English subtitles

導演 Director:尤拉伊赫茲 Juraj Herz
原著 Original Author:拉迪斯拉夫富克斯 Ladislav Fuks
編劇 Screenplay:拉迪斯拉夫富克斯 Ladislav Fuks、尤拉伊赫茲 Juraj Herz
攝影 Cinematographer:斯坦尼斯拉夫米洛達 Stanislav Milota
剪接 Editor:亞羅米爾雅納切克 Jaromír Janáček
演員 Cast:魯道夫赫魯欣斯基 Rudolf Hrušínský、弗拉斯塔赫莫斯托娃 Vlasta Chramostová、亞娜斯特赫諾娃 Jana Stehnová、米路士霍格尼奇 Miloš Vognič

Digitally Restored

1970 奧斯卡最佳外語片提名
1970 Nominee: Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards
1972 西班牙錫切斯電影節最佳電影、最佳男主角、最佳攝影
1972 Best Film, Best Actor, Best Cinematograpy, Sitges Film Festival


The road to hell is paved with good intentions; a man's promise to protect his children deteriorates into something far worse along the way.

一個以小國人自居的「美滿」家庭,怎樣隨着另一極權來臨而瓦解?熱衷火化員工作的確夫尼高,一直信奉涅槃超渡的哲學。時值納粹侵略,他赫然發現這是實現自己偉大理想的時機......攀附權力、瘋狂思想,一步步造成個人及社會的災難。作為捷克新浪潮代表作之一,《焚屍人》最突出是其場景轉換的剪接風格、豐富的局部特寫和奇特的構圖視角,營造既恐怖又幽默的氛圍。這同時是一部深入分析主角心理的作品,除了跳躍閃現幻想影像,亦從環境及音樂呈現他跟旁人的相異及情緒轉化。Rudolf Hrušínský的演繹、Zdeněk Liška的配樂亦為影片表現「瘋狂」的兩大獨特標誌。

the cremator

How does a happy family from a small country collapse when a totalitarian force arrives? Kopfrkingl is a cremator who is dedicated to his job. He has always believed in the philosophies of nirvana and transgression, and the Nazi invasion presents the perfect opportunity for him to realize his great ideals. But when authoritarianism and madness come together, a personal and social disaster breaks out.

As one of the key representative works of the Czech New Wave, The Cremator stands out in the unique editing style of scene transitions, as well as a terrifying yet humorous atmosphere created with rich partial close-ups and strange compositional perspectives. At the same time, this is a film that incisively dissects a character's psychology. In addition to using abruptly flashing images of delusions, it also uses environment and music to depict the character's distance from others as well as his emotional transformation. Rudolf Hrušínský's performance and Zdeněk Liška's score are also two unique symbols of the film's depiction of madness.





Reincarnation of Madness under Totalitarian Regime

 The Cremator is set on March 15, 1939, when the Nazis invaded Prague and occupied Czechoslovakia. The film was filmed in 1968, around the time of the Prague Spring. That very year, Czechoslovakia once again lost its identity when the Soviet Union invaded the city to suppress the protests. The film was subsequently banned in 1969, hidden away until 1989 when the Communist Party stepped down. In time for its 50th anniversary, the screening of the film's digitally restored print in Hong Kong holds a special significance considering the current times. Hong Kong audiences will perhaps find resonance and inspiration from it.

The film traces the path of one man's transformation from an ordinary person to a brutal homicidal maniac. The man succumbs to the temptation and refuses to empathise with the misery of the world; he got used to the violence and death as a daily part of his life and even starts using those topics to talk about efficiency; and he labels ethnic groups different from his own to legitimise his own actions and to smear others. Under the skin of this ordinary gentleman is madness that becomes fulfilled when tyranny arrives. In the hands of twisted totalitarians, those seemingly beautiful ideals take on opposite meanings - to "liberate your spirit" means to kill; "for your own good" means to take away your freedom and identity.

The filmmaker looks back at 1939 from 1969 while we're looking back at 1969 from 2019. The threat of our neighbouring totalitarian government hangs over us every day. It uses its status as a "strong country" to force a choice upon our people: Either be true to your blood and prosper, or wait for torment and death on the other side. Some rumours said that the deleted ending of The Cremator, showing the anti-hero smiling as tanks enter the city, was a direct reference to the Communist regime at the time, as if telling us that as long as totalitarianism continues to exist, maniacs like him will continue to live among us.

Bobby Kwok

30/11(六 Sat)7:30pm

香港電影資料館電影院 Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive


Post-screening talk with Li Cheuk-to and Bobby Kwok in Cantonese

13/12(五 Fri)7:30pm

香港電影資料館電影院 Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive


Post-screening talk with Bobby Kwok in Cantonese