Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Cremator (1968)


Karl Kopfrkingl is a seemingly well intentioned family man, who works in a sluggish Crematorium. In an attempt to increase his business, Karl hires a misfortunate Jewish confectioner, Mr. Strauss to pass out advertisements for his services. An arrangement that is finalized at a party Karl has thrown for all who wish to attend.

Varieties of guests arrive, including a former war comrade, Walter Reinke who's love of the Reich, and his German heritage encourages a newfound fixation for Karl. Who is now tempted to enlist the aid of Dr. Bettleheim, another openly Jewish man, when he wishes to find out the purity of his blood.

Kopfrkingl's actions are merely a prelude for what's to come. As he begins to justify his desires to destroy those closest to him, from his Jewish wife Lakme, to his very effeminate son, Mili. Karl's decline is evident, when he identifies with the beliefs of the Nazi Party.

Merely another excuse for him to fulfill his desires to incinerate.

In Conclusion :

A fascinating look at a man's slow descent into madness. With a sense of dread that lingers throughout till the film's conclusion.

The Cinematography is gorgeous, each image resembling some lost fragment in time. The opening credits are also amazing, as photographs of disembodied limbs litter the screen with decaying beauty.
Perhaps, I am only hardened by the myriad celluloid atrocities I have witnessed. I feel that the impact of the film was lost to me, as I fixated more on the tediousness, and the slow pace rather the the subtlety. I know not all viewers need to be hit over the head with obvious terror, and for those viewers this film would be a very rewarding experience.

Screen Captures: (All Screen Caps are taken by me, please do not use without my permission.)

1 comment:

Colonel Moustachio said...

This looks really interesting. I'll have to suss this one out. I saw some really interesting films a couple of weeks ago; presented in conjunction with a drawing show at the Hammer Museum; There was Fellini's Toby Damnit (If you havent seen it..see it) Kenneth Anger's 'Invocation Of My Demon Brother'(interesting to see Thelema in practice), a reeeally cool Carl Dyer cautionary driving/road movie, and a vintage filmed Black Mass ritual (most people really squirmed when it got explicit, pretty funny...but even funnier, it ended with a big title card that just said 'Slut').

Very cool post from you as always.