Very recently, I realized - because of some URLs of pages that people visit - that in 2007, I promoted a U.S. movie about the prophet Libuše, one of the legendary founders of the Czech nation. But I have never seen the movie! (Wikipedia...)
In 2009, the movie received catastrophic ratings in Czechia - between 0% (from the movie critic named Fucksoft) and 20%.
You know, it presents a fraction of the ancient Czech legends - stories about the roots of the Czech nation on this territory from the 8th century or so - and for more than a century, the Czechs have been taught the rather sterile but the "only right" version of these legends as interpreted by Alois Jirásek, a nationalist novelist, so many people were simply offended that some of the celebrated characters were savages, environmentalists, lesbians, or even feminists. And the conservative atheist Czech viewers (and especially critics) didn't even like the Pagan religions that penetrate the movie.
But the movie could be very realistic. After all, we don't know whether those people ever lived at all. The producer of the movie was a young German American with some Bohemian Sudetenland roots or something like that - so he combined not only the canonical (for Czechs) Alois Jirásek's story but also some German fairy-tales based on related stories and his personal and family fantasies. And despite the low budget - about $1 million - I think that the result is very interesting. First of all, it is an emotional movie with perfect music - the soundtrack doesn't disappoint.
Spoilers: detailed content of the movie reformulated into modern language follows
It's the year 780 AD or so and Mr Krok [Czech word for "step"], the ruler of the new Slavic land, is dying. He has three daughters: Kazi [Spoil-woman], Teta [Auntie], and Libuše [Liboo-sheh, name that is not far from being a female counterpart of Luboš]. We see that the dying dad has clearly had special relationships with the youngest one, Libuše, who is a blonde beauty. The actress was born in Pennsylvania but she had Slovak roots. When she was 11, she moved to Prague and became a full-fledged Czech, too. Quite an amazing story even before I tell you that she's a softcore porn star in the U.S.
The dying father, Krok, used to teach Libuše about her mother - who was arguably a tree elf whose tears had created the Moldau River. And so on. Cute stories from Libuše's childhood. Remember the level of superstition at this point: you will need it as a benchmark for future comparisons.
However, Libuše misses her father's death: she sees the white woman of death somewhere and understands what's going on. A farmer called Přemysl takes care of her. They have their first intimate moments. When she returns home, she is sorry that she missed her father's last seconds. But it's very clear that Daddy Krok wanted her to be the main politician in the country.
So Libuše is offered a seat in the council - I will call it the EU council but I won't bother you with the ancient Czech names of its members. Kazi, who is the oldest daughter, wanted and expected to get this job herself so she's angry for the first time. We quickly learn that Ms Kazi is a fanatical environmentalist who views people as scum - parasites on Gaia.
The funeral uses fire and they burn an alive crying woman with Krok as a bonus: the old Czech funerals were apparently 200% efficient.
The new princess, Ms Libuše, is able to use her innately built-in GPS to tell the blacksmith and Ms Šárka where his daughter or her parents are located, respectively. The consumers are satisfied.
One year later
After the first year of her presidency, Přemysl - the farmer with whom she spent the night when her father died - brings her a gift. It's a horse that was born on the same night when they met for the first time. Some chemistry works in between them and Ms Libuše asks what Mr Přemysl wants to get as a compensation. He says that he wants her to visit him in his farm and implicitly proposes sex.
Some EU council members remind Ms Libuše that a deadline is approaching and she's de facto obliged to find and marry a man who will be appointed her husband. Libuše tells the Council: take this apple, share it, but don't divide it. Only if and when they succeed, she will consider their EU directives. They say that the problem has no solution and give the apple to Mr Přemysl, the farmer.
Libuše is spending some intimate quality moments with Ms Vlasta, her friend. Meanwhile, some East Asian terrorists attack the kingdom.
The Czech women, led by Ms Vlasta, cut the throats of a few top terrorists: I guess that they could have been the Huns. The EU council correctly figures out that the terrorists slow down the domestic economy. Someone suggests that the council is too slow to win the war on terror: we need a leader.
A sister claims that Libuše has to be the new leader; a man protests the idea of a female leader. It would lead to the destruction of the country within a year. Nevertheless, she's crowned a Queen. Suddenly, she has much better clothes.
We see some new intimate scenes involving Ms Vlasta and Ms Libuše who became "sisters" when they were kids - although Vlasta is not one of the three biological sisters.
But a short moment afterwords, Libuše meets Přemysl, the farmer and future king, again. The horse is already mature, Přemysl notes: we have waited for quite some time. Libuše replies: let's not wait any longer. ;-) The scenes that follow are rather censored.
Her female assistants manage to extract some new prophesies out of Libuše. They include precious metals: Ms Libuše becomes the founder of the Czech mining industry. (An unexpected sex scene with Přemysl again.) She informally predicts a great city in Prague. Přemysl finds the prediction somewhat ludicrous - and uses it as a justification of further sex games. How can she be so certain? She will make it so, we hear.
Childhood scenes of Vlasta and Libuše show us that they used to be really close friends. Recent pictures from the female navy SEAL training camp are added to show the ladies' evolution. Clearly, the Czech military was led by women 1,200 years ago. Most of those observations in the movie agree with the classic legends.
Libuše's biological sister, Kazi, angrily argues that Libuše isn't allowed to mine the fossil fuels and minerals because they're finite resources that can be depleted and men don't have the right to exploit Gaia in this way. Her comments are surely stupid and the Czech critics may have been offended when they learned that a character from our ancient legends suffered from such an ideological disease but I am not offended. Green people may be found everywhere and the movie still suggests that this sector of our nation was more than 1,200 years ahead of their time, ahead of the (more) Western competition.
Libuše answers her green sister that her goal is to relieve men's hardship. She sketches her program to guarantee some GDP growth for the country in the future.
Future in which the mountaintops are dead and the fossil fuels become death trains? And in which the forest is annihilated? Can you not see this, Kazi asks? Queen Libuše decides that this rant wasn't worth answering. After a while, the argument with her extreme environmentalist sister resumes.
Some obligatory sex with Přemysl.
Libuše is happy. Přemysl also tries some sexual games based on fun. For the first time, Libuše investigates whether Přemysl is capable of overtaking the provincial White House. Justice is his priority, he answers, before he tickles her and they laugh.
So she tells him about her dream - he as a king and the supervisor of a construction boom.
The EU council blames a vitriolic property fight between two groups of miners on her policies - because she has founded the mining sector of the economy. But she replies that she's only responsible for the industry, not for the greed. So she rules against one side of the dispute that happens to be a polluter. Kazi should be thrilled but she doesn't care much.
Some new pressure comes from the EU council - e.g. Mr Marek Vašut (a famous Czech actor: there are lots of Czech actors with a Czech accent) with a beard - that she should get married. She finally explains the right solution to her apple puzzle. I hope that at least some TRFic readers have managed to solve the puzzle. They should have planted the fruit and share the fruits from the tree. The morons in the EU council clearly couldn't even solve such a simple task - and in spite of that, they want to tell the Czech leader how to divide her power? Libuše, remotely resembling Klaus in this exchange, is really shocked by this contrast between their influence and their lack of wisdom. ;-)
Libuše gives a private lecture to Přemysl on the price dynamics of the food and commodities and the impact of these changes on the emerging Czech economy. Přemysl listens but doesn't follow the details but he suggests that she should raise the taxes - for the protection she's providing to the taxpayers.
She's busy and - as you may have noticed - she missed a regular monthly sex. So Přemysl is afraid that their love is dying. She apologizes. He cries. It looks sad and serious. It's surprising what kind of a minor experience with the woman who is obviously a woman of his dreams is enough for him to impose a selective self-impotency.
Libuše also experiences some tension in her discussion with Ms Vlasta - also because Libuše is busy.
A battle with some invaders follows.
Přemysl saves the day - and then cures Vlasta by some preliminary products of the Czech pharmaceutical industry. He tries to have an affair but her opposition (stronger than in Libuše's case) indicates her potential to become a militant lesbian. Přemysl claims that he no longer loves Libuše and vice versa. Those words sound tough for all romantic viewers such as your humble correspondent who expect nothing else than a perfect romantic love.
The EU Council prescribes an algorithm to determine which man should be inserted into Libuše's bed in order to increase the efficiency of her government. When a sister indicates that she might agree, Libuše surrenders. She will give them a man, after all. Van Rumpuy thinks it's him. Instead, she plans to ask the spirits.
Semi-frigid Ms Vlasta is being semi-raped by Mr Přemysl. She semi-enjoys it.
Meanwhile, Libuše gives the EU Council the directions how to get to the guy she has slept with many times but she doesn't know his name. Přemysl is delighted to see her horse (imagining that she is there as well) again - not so much the EU Commission. The commission is stunned that they could find Přemysl just like Libuše predicted - not realizing that she gave them the horse who would find him. The lawmakers inform Přemysl that he's obliged to marry the most beautiful woman in the country and overtake much of the power in the state. And what about my human rights, he protests?
They're instructed to take him by force if he rejects. He values his freedom above other things but ultimately, he agrees. But he must first finish his lunch. He assures them that he will rule with the iron fist. Only in this scene, we see Přemysl with a plough - which gave him his full name, Přemysl the Ploughman. Otherwise it seems that he preferred animal production.
Přemysl has to break out with Vlasta again. She's anxious about the decision. He's sorry. He has to do it because of their homeland. Nevertheless, we will see that this betrayal will have far-reaching consequences.
Libuše is consistently persuading Přemysl that he should take the job of the king: it's a pretty good job.
He would prefer the simple cute girl he had met in the grass. She explains to him the obligations she has with respect to her constituents. She begs him. She will never neglect him again, we're assured. He agrees but says that it's not due to the love in between them - that he has killed after she missed a monthly sex deadline - but because of some memories about the past and some incomprehensible political values. He will give her the fist she needs but he suggests he won't sleep with her. ;-)
During some political proceedings with Libuše above the Moldau River, he admits that she was right about her planned construction of the city. However, their new city needs a catchy name and he needs it fast. So he asks the first man who stands nearby what this piece of wood in his hand is. It is a threshold, a "práh", he's told, so Přemysl instantly decides that the city will be called Praha or Prague.
Libuše is horny but he says that he doesn't have any time for love because he - suddenly - has ideas how to boost the growth. Libuše teaches girls from a basic school what are the most important stones and gods in the Czech economy.
Meanwhile, Přemysl the king is having sex with random women. Those scenes are less censored than the proper queen-king sex scenes. Also, Libuše informs a farmer who participated in a previous war that she's free and on the market again. The farmer is initially surprised that she's trying to rape him.
Obviously, faithful marriages are not something that the Czech nation was given into its pedigree. This aspect of the movie also seems to have some explanatory power. ;-)
Přemysl informs Libuše that he has executed the man who slept with her. Without a court? He explained how many things have been solved by the annihilation of the Gentleman - it brought justice in the big picture. She starts to cry. Just for a while.
Libuše visits her isolated environmentalist sister, Kazi, who is just curing a fox and who complains about deforestation. At various places of the movie, we also learn that Kazi is addicted to toxic substances from mushrooms. (Teta, the middle sister who looks like a goth, plays a largely passive role in the whole story.) Kazi seems really devastated and unhinged at this point: her meltdown resembles James Hansen's. She is chastising mineshops for the reduction of forests. It's too much for Earth to bear, we hear. Already 1,200 years ago, the environmentalists were sure that Nature's death was a matter of weeks.
Kazi is told by Libuše that Kazi took too difficult a task when she vowed to protect the whole forest by herself while Kazi herself identifies the CWM-in-chief, King Přemysl, as the root of the unsustainable growth that deviates from Nature.
Libuše, who seems completely happy despite the relative separation from her husband, is told that she has no future. Kazi whose mental as well as physical health seems to be in a really bad condition is asked to return with her compassionate sister Libuše.
King Přemysl is presenting a detailed map of the trade routes and the light industrial products that the economy is going to produce. But we're not an urban population, the farmers object. And we're definitely not sailors. So we must adapt, they're ultimately told. Adaptation is something that the Czechs became pretty good at - and probably too good at - too. ;-)
Finally, Libuše gets emotional and makes her most famous forecast. I see a city whose fame touches the stars. And so on. Prague is not quite the New York City but if you appreciate how close she was to the center of this European alpha city, it's impressive, anyway. She also makes some less optimistic predictions about the destruction of the land. Exhausted by the prediction, she collapses.
Seemingly dying Libuše orders her husband to build the city and their relationship gets emotional once again. She almost had to die for him to overcome the artificial psychological murder of their love and to kiss her again.
An EU official visits Ms Vlasta, the secretary of defense, in her bunker and offers her some cooperation on a coup. She answers that she is Libuše's friend, and uninterested in the council member's suggestion, she pokes his eye (with the help of her rank-and-file female troops). A nice ball on a needle is what she proudly presents to her subordinate female military personnel. Everyone is very amused and a bird eats the eyeball. Yummy.
Nevertheless, Ms Vlasta decides to steal the official's idea and organize a coup. That's how the famous Girls War starts according to this version of the ancient Czech legend. (A femdom version of the Girls War was linked to here.) Her current plan is to exterminate all the men in Czechia because they stole a part of Libuše's power and forced her to marry a dirty scumbag from the working class (whom Ms Vlasta slept with for a while, too).
A few men are murdered - choked or hanged - as a proof of the concept.
Libuše meets her would-be defender, Vlasta, and complains about the rumor of sexism - in particular, the murders of innocent men - and the black magic. The queen surely doesn't want to oversee the torturing of innocent citizens of either sex. Ms Vlasta authoritatively explains that she has become a full-fledged feminist - who wants to exterminate all the men to achieve justice and kindness. Libuše tells her "sister" that she barely recognizes her for the anger. She misses the "sister" whom she used to know.
The feminist killers bring the council official who's been previously stripped of his eyeball and they boast. Vlasta vows she will always protect Libuše and she will even kill Libuše's husband to guarantee her perfect protection. Ms Vlasta wants to become a king, so that she would keep Libuše as the queen.
In a discussion with the king, the queen admits that there's no way to spare her because she's a real radical feminist. After some hesitation, the king says "fine." However, his plan is to send Mr Ctirad, a charming man, to have sex with Vlasta and bring the rebellion to its end.
A group of male soldiers encounters some Nature's beauty - a pretty nude lying in the forest. When a top soldier - and it's probably Ctirad himself - approaches her, she becomes a warrior and kills him. A few women suddenly emerge and kill a few men. Meanwhile, even men have their days and they drink some Fernet.
Vlasta sends the king a gift - some organs from Ctirad, I guess. Finally, Přemysl realizes that it's time to put women to their proper place. His trained group - resembling the Hussites - visits the female bunker near Vyšehrad, the old castle. The spokesman tells the women that they must surrender. A man predicts that only Vlasta will have the balls while other women will be fearful.
He's right. Vlasta leaves her bunker and she plans to fight against the king. She angrily tells the king that she will kill him and become the king herself. Přemysl is stunned by the profound political transformation of Ms Vlasta since the last moment when he slept with her.
Přemysl wisely and calmly informs Vlasta that he has to kill her but the other women will be returned to their families in order to restore the natural order he would like to supervise as the king. We will see, she answers. After three moves, it becomes clear that she's not too proficient in these martial arts, and after about 10 seconds of fighting, he has to perforate her stomach. The blood goes about 1 meter above the ground. They produce an ad hoc wooden ship and export Vlasta's dead body through Elbe to Germany using their new Moldau River trade route.
Libuše and Přemysl suddenly have a baby. Shortly afterwords, Libuše sees the white woman of death - the same one whom we met when her father Krok was dying at the beginning (the woman of death terminated Krok's life by an elegant kiss). It's a clear signal for Libuše so she happily jumps to the river and swims as deep as she can. She probably drowns.
Finally, Přemysl explains things to his - and the late Libuše's - son in very much the same way as Krok was training Libuše when she was a child. The emotional relationships between the father and the child are similar. The only difference is that he says that there's nothing such as magic. Not anymore. You see that having a farmer as the ancestor of all the kings in a country makes the nation somewhat pragmatic and irreligious.
Přemysl the Plougher, if he existed, was the ancestor of the Přemyslid Dynasty that produced a sequence of Czech kings later.
A century later, Orthodox Christianity and scripture was brought to the Czech lands - to Great Moravia which was the 9th century version of Czechoslovakia - from the Balkans. One more century later, the Catholic influence on the Czech kingdom prevailed but I think that the movie correctly shows the historical logic why the Czechs are so distant from religion - including the Paganic one.
The roots of this national attitude - which is incorrectly blamed just on communism and somewhat more correctly on the opposition against the German-speaking Catholic ruling class - may really go back to the 8th century. That's why differ from the insanely Catholic Poles, among others.