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The Orphan

Directed by: Zbysek Podhajsky
Story by: Pavel Stastny and Thomas J. Marco
Screenplay: by Pavel Stastny
Director of Cinematography: Tomas Hyka
Starring: Veronika Velka as The Orphan
Pavel Stastny as The Farmer
Jarmila Ocaskova as Baba
Tina Skodova as First Maid
Eva Novotna as Second Maid
Review by: David Pierson

Leo Tolstoy - " The only knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless"

The Orphan is the tragic story of the short life and death of a poor girl. The question posed by the filmmakers is " What is the price of life"? The filmmakers do not leave you in suspense for long. For according to the authors of this tragic tale the intrinsic worth of life is nothing.

This is not a video in the classic sense of that term. Rather, 'The Orphan' is a serious work of art that asks the viewer to ponder the profound questions regarding human condition. It is only a work of erotica in the sense that that the Marquis De Sade's 'Justine' can be seen in such a manner. In many ways 'The Orphan' has much in common, philosophically, with Igmar Bergman's ' The Seventh Seal'. Both draw heavily upon the writings of the extistential philosophers. The Orphan in this tragic tale is a good and virtuous girl who says her prayers each night. Her only possession, other than the clothes on her back, was a cross that she wore around her neck. She asked little of the deity other than she have enough in this life to survive. Her prayers are met with nothing but silence- the maddening silence of God. In the end, our Orphan comes to the conclusion that this is a godless universe, one in which she can not live.

As this tale begins our doomed protagonist has been sent out into the snow to feed the chickens. She had apparently procured work as a farm hand with a farming family. We see that the entire landscape is covered in snow. As this unfortunate young woman set about the task of feeding the chickens she was set upon by a pack of wolves. Before her disbelieving eyes, all of the chickens were devoured by the pack of canis lupus. When the girl recovered from the shock of the wolf attack she went into the house and told the farmer of the demise of his precious poultry. In a rage, the farmer cast out the poor young woman into the cold and snow covered wilderness. Tearfully, the girl trudged through the white, frozen wasteland, fully cognizant of the fact that she was likely to meet her end from exposure to the unforgiving cold. Suddenly, She became aware that she had become the prey of the wolf pack. Fleeing for her life, our young unfortunate discovered a farmhouse. In desperation she pounded on the door, pleading for the occupants of the house to let her in. As the wolves were baring down upon her the door finally opened. Inside, she found herself in the presence of the master of the house and his servants. The master of the house was the proprietor of a large farm. It was clear from the moment that the Orphan girl entered the home that the farmer found her desirable. He instructed his staff to prepare a bath for the poor girl. A tub was brought into the kitchen of the house and the girl was stripped of her clothes. She stood before the farmer and his three maids naked and humiliated. In the tub, the girl was scrubbed clean by the farmer's maids. After her bath, the Orphan was given a nightgown and food. She was then shown to her bed. Before falling asleep the girl, grasping her cross, prayed. Our orphan girl then fell into a deep sleep. The girl's sleep was interrupted as the Farmer attempted to join her in bed. He insisted that she owed him her sexual favors as he had saved her life. The girl resisted the farmer's advances with all of her strength. She cried hat she was a virtuous girl, a virgin. Angered by what he regarded as a most grievous slight against him by this "ungrateful girl", the farmer pulled her out of bed, stripped her of her clothing and tied her arms above her head, securing the rope to wooden beam from the ceiling. He then whipped the petrified girl until she had lost consciousness. He then carried the uncouncious, naked orphan to the quarters of his male workers. When next we see our poor girl, she was being pushed out of the door of the men's quarters into the snow. She struggled to walk barefoot in the snow. The girl was completely naked in the frozen white. The dried blood from her recently broken maidenhead was still painted upon both of her legs. On her face was the look of one who had abandoned all hope. With each painful step, The Orphan gradually struggled on this path that was to be her fate. In the distance the wolf pack was visible and aware of the girl's approach. With each painful step she was drawing closer to the wolves. As she drew nearer to the pack, the girl removed the cross from around her neck and cast it into the snow. In a world devoid of love, hope or God she would rather have the flesh torn from her bones by the ravenous pack of canines than suffer further indignities at the hands of the human animal.


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