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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'The Valley of the Bees')

Directed by Frantisek Vlácil
Czechoslovakia 1968

A visionary and evocative medieval epic, Vláčil’s The Valley of the Bees is just as powerful and engrossing a film as his more famous Marketa Lazarová.

It chronicles the tale of a young boy forced to join the Order of the Teutonic Knights. As he grows into a man his desire to return to his homeland leads him to abandon the Crusaders, only to be pursued by a fanatical former comrade and pay a terrible price for his rejection of the Holy Order.

With its resplendent black-and-white cinematography and highly convincing recreation of 13th-century Europe, the film is a raw and haunting moral fable which raises questions about the conflict between human nature and dogmatism.

Released just before the ’68 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, the film’s theme was given a political interpretation and its screenings severely restricted by the authorities.

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Product Description: A visionary and haunting medieval epic from the director of Marketa Lazarová. Set in 13th century Europe this raw and powerful moral fable of corruption and fundamentalism chronicles the tale of a young boy made to join the Brotherhood of the Teutonic Knights and how as a man he rejects their doctrine, and the terrible price he must pay for that rejection.

Synopsis: A young man is sent to live and study with a religious order when his father takes a young bride. When the son helps one of the noble knights at the order escape, he is expelled from the institution. His friends help the young man escape as well, and he takes over as his stepmother's lover when his father dies.

Excerpt from Second Run's website located HERE

Theatrical Release: May 17th, 1968

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DVD Review: Second Run - Region 0 - PAL

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

The Valley of the Beesis also available for a significant savings in the 4-disc Frantisek Vlacil Collection -with Adelheid (1970), Marketa Lazarová (1967) and Sentiment (2003) - Tomá Hejtmánek's acclaimed 2003 documentary portrait of the director - exclusive to the boxset.

Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:36:18 (4% PAL Speedup)
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.9 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• 20-page liner notes Booklet featuring essay by author and film programmer Peter Hames.

DVD Release Date: March 22nd, 2010

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

This became available, in December 2009, in Region 1 by Facets ('nuff said) HERE in some sort of dual film packaging with Otakar Vávra's excellent Witches' Hammer. Typical of Facets quality it is reported to be a slipshod, barely watchable transfer - and overpriced at that.

Enter Second Run's dual-layered, anamorphic, progressive transfer appearing reasonably impressive in supporting the awe-inspiring visuals. The image is a shade thick, some grain and compression artifacts, good contrast and I have no reason to believe it is not faithfully reporting the source elements that must have been in acceptable condition (40+ year-old film here folks). The region free DVD is in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and rendered in the PAL standard.

The flat 2.0 channel audio is fairly consistent without any extensive depth or range. There are, complete, optional English subtitles. Supplements consist of a 20-page liner notes booklet featuring essay by author and film programmer Peter Hames.

This magnificent Czech New Wave entry made me reflect on Paradjanov, Kurosawa, and especially Tarkovsky. Second Run continue to expose these important, under-seen, films to a whole new audience - of which I count myself lucky - and this is really worthy of shelf-space in any cinephile's digital library. This film and DVD are strongly recommended at this reasonable price!  

Gary W. Tooze

 


 

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Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

The Valley of the Beesis also available for a significant savings in the 4-disc Frantisek Vlacil Collection -with Adelheid (1970), Marketa Lazarová (1967) and Sentiment (2003) - Tomá Hejtmánek's acclaimed 2003 documentary portrait of the director - exclusive to the boxset.

Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL




 

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