Quick: Thoughts: Juraj Herz’s The Cremator

I cannot stress enough how seamless the scene transitioning in this is. Even the match cuts are jaw-dropping!

Unbelievably sinister in the most productive way possible. Understanding evil is important, as insufferable as it is to listen to people rationalize doodoo like racism, it’s important to comprehend the reality of our history and enemies in order to successfully counteract their influence (via knowing their vulnerabilities) and to also reflect upon ourselves any possible nuance that can avoid repeats of having f**ked up vindications that people had wrapped themselves into and continue to do as well. 

As atrocious as this comparison may sound, The Cremator to me felt like if MTV Cribs did an auteur episode on Nazis, specifically concentrating on a cremationist’s space, home, beliefs, and place of work to… you know… really hammer in on the whole justifying death kind of schtick that was going on with Hitler’s regime at the time. The real beneficial element about this movie is how it’s candid enough to thoroughly guide you into the moral complexity of committing evil, and how the gimmick for villains has familiarly been that what they commit they usually think is the right thing to commit despite it not being in reality. But, to counteract this up-close vile perspective with an opposition, the film also openly shows you the holes in that kind of dialectic in marginalizing ethnicities by having the main character go from almost 0 to 100 in his beliefs by the end of the film as he becomes a racist while, however, convincing himself that nothing has really changed, as if his righteous mind had been clear since the beginning and it’s only enacting to its true potential now, which is a very infuriatingly human thing to do. 

In this case, Juraj Herz’s explanation for the rise of Nazism, through even a one-person concentration, is so meticulously honest because it shows us this evolution in unconscious villainy, and it’s absolutely frightening to witness that kind of arc, especially knowing the obvious realism behind it given the historical moment it’s geared on. Hopefully, you’ll be trembling by the conclusion of this as I had; it rightfully feels like the equivalent to cinematic whiplash. 

Verdict: A-

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“The Cremator” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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