The Favorites is a series briefly exploring films I love, to find out what makes them - and me - tick. Miraculous Virgin (1967/Czechoslovakia/dir. Stefan Uher) appeared at #86 on my original list.
What it is • We are in a wartorn European city. The war is not named, and I don't think the city is either, although the film was shot in Bratislava (emphasis on the "Slovakia" in Czechoslovakia, thank you very much). Out of nowhere, a beautiful, mysterious woman named Annabella (Jolanta Umecka) appears. Is she a flesh-and-blood refugee needing to be hidden from the nationalist authorities who will deport her? Is she a metaphorical muse, inspiring the artists who flutter frustratingly around her like moths to the flame? Or is she the moth and they the flame, their desperate desire a threat to her own identity and security? The film unfolds through a series of fluid, graceful poetic gestures - surrealism expressed not just through the imagery and the subtle, evocative soundscape but also the way this imagery is revealed and explored. If other films of the Czechoslovakian New Wave express surrealism through screenplay or editing, Miraculous Virgin utilizes camera movement to pleasurably disorient our senses.
Why I like it •