Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Release Date: 1990
Sveto Mesto or a Holy Place is a flick I’ve had for a while but it was friend of the blog House of Karnstein who recently let me know that subtitles had appeared for the film. It is based on Gogol’s short story Viy and owes much, in some respects, to the wonderful 1967 film Viy.
For those who don’t know, the story had a definitive edge of vampirism to it. The films concentrate more on the witch aspects of the story. However we get psychic vampirism and what we see is the strigoï vii (or living witch/vampire) who becomes the strigoï mort (undead vampire) on death. I did a ‘Vamp or Not?’ on the 1967 film and all films based on the story – if accurate to that model – will be reviewed even if the vampirism is low key/well hidden. Note that this is going to be a spoiler heavy look at Sveto Mesto.
He is called to the headmaster, and bumps into his friends who laugh at him suggesting that he slept with the granny and then ran off – but he must have been good as she made them breakfast in the morning. The headmaster tells him that he has been summoned by Master Zupanski (Aleksandar Bercek) as his daughter is dying and Toma is to pray for her. Zupanski is a patron of the church and school and thus Toma has no choice. He is handed to Doros (Danilo Lazovic) and Spira (Rados Bajic), who are to take him to Zupanski – despite his protests.
Carmilla would transform into a cat and thus the cat has a definite place in vampire mythology also.
However the film does not end there and there is an entire coda section that brought the film full circle and which I won’t spoil but can say I rather enjoyed.
The film’s photography is odd. I rather enjoyed the look and feel of the film, but there is a thickness to it that makes one feel like you are watching a 1970s production rather than 1990s. It is, overall, a good production of Viy (other than the mundane climax).
All in all I want to hold this, score wise, at 7.5 out of 10. Well worth tracking down and watching but it suffers when held next to the 1967 movie, which is much more magical.
The imdb page is here.