Ecstasy Eva has just gotten married to an older gentleman, but discovers that he is obsessed with order in his life and doesn’t have much room for passion. She becomes despondent and leaves him, returning to her father’s house. One day while bathing in the lake she meets a young man and they fall in love. The husband has become grief stricken at the loss of his young bride, and fate brings him together with the young lover that has taken Eva from him.
One of the best ever made
Ecstasy Famous for introducing the world to Hedy Lamarr and full frontal nudity, but it’s oh so much more. In fact, this is one of the pinnacles of cinematic poetry, up there with some of the seminal works of 1930s art cinema, in the same prestigious group as Under the Roofs of Paris, Tabu, Olympia, and even L’Atalante. It’s nearly a silent, relying mostly on its miraculous images, and also its fantastic, symphonic score by Giuseppe Becce. It’s a masterpiece of cinematography and music, yes, and also of editing, direction, writing, and acting. A good 90% of the film moves along perfectly. Machatý seems an expert at using motifs. Perhaps not as subtle as it could be, and perhaps a bit overused, but the appearances of objects like insects, lights, and horses carry the story forward beautifully. The small snatches of dialogue are, thankfully, unintrusive. They don’t jar as much as one would imagine. The final bit is odd, to say the least. Reminiscent of Russian silents, we have a montage of workers. This barely makes sense in the course of the narrative, but it’s so gorgeously done that I refuse to harp too much on that flaw. Ecstasy is a film that is desperately in need of rediscovery. It belongs amongst the best films ever made.
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