The Devil's Trap

František Vláčil's second feature film takes us to the Czech countryside in the first half of the eighteenth century. Against the backdrop of the struggle between the emerging Enlightenment and Roman Catholic dogmatism, it sets the story of the free miller Spálený, his son Jan and the treacherous rulers who seek to destroy the respect that the non-conformist family enjoys among their subjects.

Ďáblova past
Czechoslovakia 1961
  • English
86 min.
  • This film is available until 31. 12. 2024 in these territories: Czechia, Slovakia.

The film ballad by director František Vláčil is a loose adaptation of Alfréd Technik's novel „The Mill on the Submerged River“. The story takes place in the first half of the 18th century, in a period when the Catholic Church was making extraordinary efforts to gradually recatholicize and increase its influence, seeking out „heretics“ in order to use their negative example to consolidate its power over the ignorant people. The miller Spálený is rumored by his enemies to be in league with hell. But the miller only understands the language of nature and knows the secret of the plunging river that powers his mill. He comes into conflict with a priest, a fanatical but rational messenger of God, who intends to do everything he can to destroy the miller. The viewer is drawn in by the excellent performances, especially by Miroslav Macháček as the priest and Vítězslav Vejražka as the miller, but also by the atmosphere of the film, thanks to cinematographer Rudolf Milič.

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Director: František Vláčil
Based on: Alfred Technik
Screenplay: František A. Dvořák, Miloš V. Kratochvíl
Cinematography: Rudolf Milič
Music: Zdeněk Liška
Sound: František Fabián, Bohumír Brunclík
Editing: Miroslav Hájek
Production Design: Karel Škvor
Producer: Věra Kadlecová
Costumes: Theodor Pištěk ml.
Cast: Vítězslav Vejražka, Miroslav Macháček, Čestmír Řanda st., Karla Chadimová, Vít Olmer, Vlastimil Hašek, Bedřich Karen, František Kovářík, Zdeněk Kutil, Josef Hlinomaz

Locarno International Film Festival

1962 – František Vláčil (FIPRESCI Prize)

  • This film is available until 31. 12. 2024 in these territories: Czechia, Slovakia.