Fairy Tale -The Magic Purse – LUPUS/RIGID EAST

1 May

M/3f;   year: 2006;   time: 44 minutes

A beautifully filmed period piece–for a second you’re transported back 50 cinematic years to a rustic Igmar Bergman art film, except when you watch a LUPUS production, you are eyeing every female for her potential to fall into disfavor. This is meant to be mid-nineteenth century or earlier, when travelers called at residences along their route, and when the forest contained dangers.

Good old Pavel Stastny plays ‘Veteran Martin,’ an amiable enough character wandering through the forest. He meets a beggar-like wizard named ‘Magic Old Man Robesh,’ with whom he exchanges some food from his knapsack for a magic coin purse, which automatically  replaces the ducat when it is removed. Robesh then magically disappears. (We struggle without sub-titles, but many reviewers point out that the plot details are not important when the film climaxes).

Martin calls at an attractive farm/manor. LUPUS  went to some  effort to acquire such a set. The lord of the manor is practicing with his bullwhip while farm maid Michaela bathes at a fountain. Martin knocks at the large wood doors; the family and servants are seen eating–3 girls, three young male grooms, the mother and father. They eat in a crude and ancient style–sausage, potatoes, bread, and cabbage, at a large harvest table. Martin shows the family the amazing gold coin in his purse.

An apparition of Robesh narrates something; the farm-mother is suspicious of something; Martin is allowed to sleep with his bedroll in the barn. The mother of the manor overhears the girls and the maid whispering about stealing Martin’s purse, one of them has a replica of Martin’s purse.

Fearing the maid might disclose the girls, she is captured, taken to the barn, stripped naked and strung up, arms wide, to ceiling beams, bare feet in the straw. The father whips her with his bullwhip while grooms observe. This corporal punishment occurs fully 15 minutes into the film. The girl is loosely enough secured that she can twist and dodge, which greatly enhances the scene.

The other girls sneak into the barn; while one feigns to seduce Martin, the other switches his coine purse. When Martin continues his journey the next day, the maid who was whipped tells him he’s been robbed. When he protests to the father, he is tossed out the door. The family is seen counting stacks of gold coins. Apparently the magic purse generates gold pieces.

Back on the trail, Martin meets the old man again, is give some apples with a magic potion, and returns to the manor in a comic vaudeville disguise typical of Lupus–mixing wicked spankings and ludicrous low comedy.

The young daughters, two very demure young blondes, taste the apples and quickly grow devil’s horns. The girls are made to eat a vile-looking potion mixed for them, but nothing works, so it appears a solution constituting the climax of the film is in order.

In a new scene, the two innocent girls are stark-naked, tied standing, legs apart, wrists-and-ankles fastened to wood frames in the middle of a manicured lawn. It appears there were very good lawn mowers in those days. Naturally, the men have gathered to watch. (Keep your hands where we can see them, boys)

Goofy disguised Martin (Pavel) somehow has earned the right to cane these two quaking bottoms and steps up  to the plate with an armload of fresh-cut switches. The first little blonde is caned for a full five minutes–about 50 strokes on film. She is crying and surging from the first. The caning is filmed from front oblique and the obligatory full rear, which probably allows for repeats.

The second blonde screeches through her  five minutes and about 50 strokes. If your anxieties were pent up during the dialogue and storyline we had to record to reach this point, your reward is here.

The two naked girls are brought into the house, their bottoms and thighs massively striped, and fed more potion. The horns disappear and we have excellent views of their total nudity.

Martin is given the purse of gold coins for having cured the girls; he pulls off his disguise to declare his revenge and sets off, the whipped maid Michaela joins him. For some, this may have been a depiction of class struggle and good vs. evil. For us, it was a good old-fashioned caning film.

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