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THE CREMATOR

Czechoslovakia, 1969 (MIFF 1970, Programme 4)

Director: Juraj Herz

After Munich, when the Sudetcnland became part of Germany, an adept of Tibetan lore who is convinced that his work of cremating the dead sets people free for a better after-life, is convinced by a Nazi friend that he has a drop of German blood and is a member of the new master race. From being a conscientious and uxorious Czech family man, he becomes an equally conscientious convert to the task of creating the brave new world for which his profession so admirably equips him. He discovers, for a start, that his wife is part Jewish...

The narrow gam between horrific belief and the monstrous politics, and the need to survive or bend by self -delusion, are harrowingly brought out in this strange but jolting pic that manages to walk the tightrope of burlesque, political macabre satire ad insight into man's inhumanity to man.

Variety

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