I recommend the collection of shorts called The Ossuary and Other Tales particularly the short title film and the longer piece “Don Juan.” “The Ossuary” is a kind of film poem documenting the chapel built from bones in Sedlec, Czechoslavakia–containing bones from the bodies of approximately 40,000 bodies. The disturbing but compelling images are juxtaposed with a soundtrack recorded from a school visit to the church, a teacher lecturing her young students on the work that went into the chapel, but mainly hectoring them with the directive not to touch any of the bones (they must pay a fine if they do!); inevitably one does and the ghoulish tour ends with a vigorous chastisement. It’s a witty film….as much about education as the eerie setting. one may make a chapel of bones but a student cannot touch a single femur.

“Don Juan” is, yes, an adaptation of the legend, with marionettes. when it started, I thought “oh, no…” but minutes into it I was hooked. Chilling, comic, grotesque and suspenseful all at the same time. The marionnettes and the theatrical setting suggest decay, a lost theatricality and an oppressive European past, but the sensibility is one of contemporary modernist irony. the puppets’ impassivity nevertheless suggests an uncanny expressiveness. DVD

For info on The Ossuary