Length / Feature: 89 minutes
Length / Special features: 31 minutes
1.0 Mono LPCM (48k/24-bit)
Black and white
Original aspect ratio: 1:37:1
Blu-Ray: BD25 / 1080p
Region ABC (Region Free)
Blu-Ray RRP: £19.99
Release Date: 28 February 2022
Second Run BD051
The first film in Vlácil’s trilogy of visionary historical epics, The Devil’s Trap prefigures his legendary masterpiece Marketa Lazarová (1967).
In early-18th century Bohemia, an innocent miller finds himself under investigation by the Inquisition after daring to question the judgement of a local landowner. At a time when religious authority is absolute, the miller’s understanding of the natural world is interpreted as evidence of a pact with the Devil. With atmospheric imagery and evocative use of sound, the film depicts a cruel but credible world torn between superstition and science.
Presented from the Czech National Archives' new HD transfer, The Devil's Trap makes it's world premiere on Blu-ray.
Our edition also contains cinematographer František Uldrich’s documentary portrait of Vláčil, In the Web of Time (V síti času, 1989) and The Week Starts on Friday (Týden začíná v pátek, 1962), Elmar Kloss’ short film about Czech cinema exhibition in the early 1960s, which features The Devils Trap. Additionally, our region-free Blu-ray also includes a booklet featuring an expansive essay by author and Czechoslovak cinema specialist Peter Hames.
• The Devil's Trap (Ďáblova past, 1961) presented from a new HD transfer from the best existing original materials created by the Czech National Film Archive, Prague.
• In the Web of Time (V síti času, 1989): cinematographer František Uldrich’s documentary portrait of Vláčil.
• The Week Starts on Friday (Týden začíná v pátek, 1962):
Elmar Kloss’ short film about Czech cinema exhibition in the early 1960s, and featuring The Devils Trap.
• 20-page booklet featuring a new essay on the film by author and Czechoslovak cinema specialist Peter Hames
• New and improved English subtitle translation.
• Region free Blu-ray (A/B/C)
• World premiere on Blu-ray.
Directed by František Vláčil
Screenplay - František A. Dvořák, Miloš V. Kratochvíl
Based on the novel The Mill on the Deep River
(Mlýn na ponorné řece) by Alfréd Technik
Cinematography - Rudolf Milič
Editor - Miroslav Hájek
Music - Zdeněk Liška
Sound - František Fabián
Vítězslav Vejražka – Spálený, the miller
Miroslav Macháček – Probus, the piest
Vít Olmer - Jan
Čestmír Řanda – the Regent
Karla Chadimová - Martina
“Vláčil was, with just a handful of films to prove it, the Czech New Wave's formalist, post-expressionist wrecking ball, their Welles, their Paradjanov” Village Voice
“Vláčil’s films were praised for a style that wove metaphor and poetic symbolism with historical stories” Variety
"This film is a stunning experience... a wonderful display of visual mastery" Bonjour Tristesse
"From its magnificent opening shot to its breathtaking catacombs climax, this gripping account of free will at odds with religious dogma ranks among Vlácil’s finest work"
Film Society of Lincoln Center
“The opening shot of a gnarled effigy of Christ in agony, dwarfing a distant figure on the horizon, neatly establishes a cruel world where religious authority holds absolute sway and an innocent miller’s encyclopedic knowledge of the land’s natural properties is interpreted as evidence of a diabolical pact.” Michael Brooke, Sight & Sound