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unequivocable

Over in the Sk8Jesus forum, Dan started a thread asking each of us to describe a lesser-known film. I was assigned Unequivocable, and I finally managed to track down a copy and watch it last night. Naturally, Scarecrow Video had a copy, an old VHS cassette, but it's a rare out-of-print item so there was a $200 deposit to rent it. Like many of the works of director Nichol Cryzgzy, Unequivocable was lost and forgotten for decades, although at one time it was the most popular film in Europe. This copy seems to have been a limited release in Poland and later dubbed (badly) into English.

Unequivocable is the story of Saint Vrllczy (known in English as Saint Paul Parmistani), the patron saint of Parmistan. Saint Vrllczy was renowned for his debating skills and was an important figure in the conversion of the pagans in Eastern Europe. The film offers a strange take on the story, however. At the time the film was made, Parmistan was in the Soviet sphere, and Cryzgzy felt compelled to harmonize Vrllczy's story with Communist philosophy, in order that the film might be shown in his homeland. So for example, he reworked the famous story of "Saint Vrllczy and the Dragon" to champion the rights of the people. In the original tale, the dragon of course was preying upon hapless villagers, until Vrllczy struck it down by calling upon the Lord. In Unequivocable, however, the dragon has been cruelly enslaving the villagers to produce frivolous luxuries for itself, and Vrllczy rouses the people to overthrow the evil dragon and form a new cooperative society. Another such altered tale is "The Ecstasy of Saint Vrllczy," in which Vrllczy's vision of Christ triumphant in Heaven becomes Christ offering his blessing to the Communist takeover of Europe.

Throughout the film, Vrllczy is shown convincing the pagan people of the land of the truth of Christianity by his clear, well-reasoned and unambiguous arguments, which give the film its name. (I believe the incorrect form "Unequivocable" for "unequivocal" is a translation error; the original title, Ygwrtzncyll u Hwrptlc, is of course Parmistanian and might be better translated as "The Voice of the People Crying in the Wilderness Speaks with Certainty.") Of course, these arguments lose something in translation. The people will say something like, "Your god makes no sense!" Vrllczy will clearly give a long speech in response, but the English voiceover will simply say "Christ is truth!", and the people go wild and hail him as a hero.

All together, it's a pretty strange film. It's quite long by Cryzgzy's standards, being 42 minutes long, but even then it seems to have been edited down from a longer work. I think if it were reissued with decent subtitles and footage restored, it'd be more enjoyable.

For more information on Cryzgzy, I recommend you check out The Nichol Cryzgzy Film Preservation Society. I have to give credit to John and Scott who first introduced me to the works of Cryzgzy.


Comments

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(Anonymous)
Apr. 3rd, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
dude, how many saints ARE there that slay dragons? sheesh. i really like the 'christ approves of communism' slant, considering the stalinists/leninists (which i don't consider communism, but anyway...) certainly didn't approve of christianity (or anything else).

wait a minute... i seem to recall that nichol cryzgzy (looks a lot like szygzy) is a made up guy.

but really, how many saints ARE there that slay dragons?
philaros
Apr. 7th, 2006 06:29 am (UTC)
I Googled for "dragon-slaying saints" or some such terms and found a page that listed probably two dozen. But I'm not linking to it because the page design was the height of 1995, and I just didn't want to subject anyone to that (not to mention you had to scroll a looooooooong way down the page to find the list, no way to direct link to it, etc.).

While I cannot comment on your allegation that Cryzgzy wore make-up, I can say that the first sentence, the last two sentences, and my assigned film title being Unequivocable, are all unequivocally true.
johnharper
Apr. 25th, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
"Made up guy?" I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, "Anonymous" -- if that is your REAL name.

Nichol Cryzgzy has fans around the world and his films have been seen by many. It is through his films that we honor Parmistan and its memory.
( 3 have written — Write )

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