Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This animated feature was written, designed, and directed by Viktor Kubal, who faced a definite challenge in the folktale about Bloody Lady Bathory, doomed to bathe in the blood of young girls in order to be forever youthful herself. The director could not exactly substitute modern cosmetics for the red baths, and so he reduces their role while focusing on how the bloody baths came to be, and how they were ended. Lady Bathory, it seems, is a fair maiden living in a large castle and luxuriating in the natural world around her. While out enjoying the forest setting with some friends, she is caught in a rain storm and stricken with a debilitating fever. A young man saves her life by bringing her to his cabin and nursing her back to health. She is so grateful for his kindness that she gives him her heart -- both literally and physically. That act ends up causing the bloody baths, and eventually leads to Lady Bathory being imprisoned in a tower and kept without food. The young woodsman hears of her imprisonment and rushes to the tower to join her. It is impossible for him to return her heart to put the scales of justice back to normal because he himself was the reason she gave her heart away. Both the animation and the fast-moving storyline keep the film at a certain distance from the horror of the bloody baths themselves -- but since the folktale is known to every child in Czechoslovakia anyway, the effort was not meant to hide that aspect from the viewers, just to downplay it.
blood, immortality, murder, youth