The gripping ecclesiastical drama “The Servants,” set in 1980s Czechoslovakia, follows teenage graduates at a Christian seminary who awaken to a grim reality. . Their dean (Vladimir Strnisko) is a member of the Pacem in Terris, a group of clerics that silently hand over control of the church to the Communist state. Seeing this as a moral depravity, some students initiated a secret rebellion.
The story follows close friends Juraj (Samuel Skyva) and Michal (Samuel Polakovic), a serious duo who enter a seminary and pair up to study, play soccer and practice their accordion. But once Juraj met his counterparts who were having close ties to the Vatican despite their advisers, he rejected Michal in favor of the cause.
Directed by Slovak filmmaker Ivan Ostrochovsky, “The Servants” combines a cold black-and-white image, reminiscent of Robert Bresson’s films, with a kind of austere choreography: Ostrochovsky often initiates scenes. shot with the characters frozen in place for a few seconds before they leap into action, as if they were pieces moved by God across the bare lines of the seminary’s crumbling stone architecture.
The evocative details fill this spartan world. Through the film, Ominous Doctor Ivan (Vlad Ivanov), a member of the secret police responsible for cleaning up and punishing dissident students, develops a progressive rash. It crept through his body along with his accumulated sins.
A clearer picture of the bond between Juraj and Michal could have made this moral narrative more impactful. But as Ostrochovsky deploys his captured image, he shows less interest in the boys’ fracturing than in the political and holy struggles that guide them. “Be careful. The school is in the process of recovering,” a student advised the pair early on. “The servants” see the breakup of a friendship as a small price to pay to restore faith. purity of school and country.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/movies/servants-review.html ‘Servants’ Review: Fighting for the Purity of Faith