The charming ecclesiastical drama “Servants,” set in Eighties Czechoslovakia, follows teenage matriculates at a Christian seminary who awaken to a grim actuality. Their Dean (Vladimir Strnisko) is a member of Pacem in Terris, a gaggle of clergy quietly granting management of the church to the Communist state. Contemplating this an ethical corruption, a number of of the scholars provoke a discreet revolt.
The story follows finest associates Juraj (Samuel Skyva) and Michal (Samuel Polakovic), a solemn duo who be part of the seminary and pair as much as research, play soccer and apply their accordions. However as soon as Juraj meets the friends who’re furtively connecting with the Vatican in defiance of their advisers, he snubs Michal to assist the trigger.
Directed by the Slovakian filmmaker Ivan Ostrochovsky, “Servants” pairs chilly black-and-white imagery, paying homage to movies by Robert Bresson, with an austere form of choreography: Ostrochovsky typically begins photographs with characters frozen in place for a number of seconds earlier than they launch into motion, as in the event that they had been chess items moved by God throughout the naked strains of the seminary’s crumbling stone structure.
Evocative particulars fill out this spartan world. By way of the film, the ominous Physician Ivan (Vlad Ivanov), a member of the key police answerable for removing and penalizing scholar dissidents, suffers from a progressive rash. It snakes throughout his physique in live performance together with his accruing sins.
A clearer image of the bond between Juraj and Michal could have made this ethical story extra affecting. However as Ostrochovsky deploys his arresting imagery, he exhibits much less curiosity within the boys’ rift than within the political and holy struggles guiding them. “Watch out. The varsity is present process restorations,” a pupil advises the pair early on. “Servants” sees the dissolution of 1 friendship as a small worth to pay towards the restoration of a college’s — and nation’s — purity of religion.