Morgiana

Morgiana ★★★★

Juraj Herz's smoky giallo-adjacent period-piece thriller is dripping with gothic pop-art elegance, letting each bout of high drama ricochet from one scene to the next.

After the death of their father, two sisters - Klara & Viktoria - are left with a sizable inheritance. However, Viktoria is already pretty damn jealous of Klara's luck with men and happy-go-lucky approach on life and now wants the inheritance to herself. So Viktoria decides to procure some poison and slowly kick Klara out of existence. Blackmail, pulpy twists, and hallucinations ensue!

Herz starts the film at 11, weaving his immense style into each gripping moment with a constant stream of whimsy-drenched tension-filled orchestral music and splashes of experimental camera work.
It's a doozy and quite the rush at first, but in comparison to his masterpiece The Cremator*, it lacks the precision and overall structural arch of that film. I found myself dazzled but not exactly pulled along with Viktoria's dark trajectory.
Still, that makes the experience more challenging than boring, and with Iva Janzurova playing both Klara & Viktoria - an aspect I didn't even realize until an hour into the film - I was completely blown away by the technical prowess of Morgiana.

This is honestly a phenomenal film and well worth your time, visually striking with more than enough creativity in each frame to chew on. We watched a so-so DVD copy that unfortunately had every dark night-time scene completely shrouded in black, a royal shame considering how gloriously shot this was. Needs a bluray restoration immediately.

*If you really wanna know how I feel about The Cremator, my favourite discovery of last year, read my full review.

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