Czechoslovak New Wave iconoclast Juraj Herz’s terrifying, darkly comic vision of the horrors of totalitarian ideologies stars a supremely chilling Rudolf Hrušínský as the pathologically morbid Karel Kopfrkingl, a crematorium manager in 1930s Prague who believes fervently that death offers the only true relief from human suffering. When he is recruited by the Nazis, Kopfrkingl’s increasingly deranged worldview drives him to formulate his own shocking final solution. Blending the blackest of gallows humor with disorienting expressionistic flourishes—queasy point-of-view shots, distorting lenses, jarring quick cuts—the controversial, long-banned masterpiece The Cremator is one of cinema’s most trenchant and disturbing portraits of the banality of evil.
This restoration of The Cremator was made possible by a donation from Mrs. Milada Kučerová and Mr. Eduard Kučera and was realized by Karlovy Vary IFF at the studios of UPP and Soundsquare, in cooperation with the Národní filmový archiv in Prague and the Czech Film Fund.
- New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- High-definition digital transfer of The Junk Shop, director Juraj Herz’s 1965 debut short film
- Short documentary from 2011 featuring Herz visiting filming locations and recalling the production of The Cremator
- New interview with film programmer Irena Kovarova about the style of the film
- Documentary from 2017 about composer Zdeněk Liška featuring Herz, filmmakers Jan Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers, and others
- Interview with actor Rudolf Hrušínský from 1993
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by film scholar Jonathan Owen
New cover design by La Moutique