A visionary medieval epic, Vlacil's dazzling film is as powerful and engrossing as his more famous Marketa Lazarova. It chronicles the tale of a young boy forced to join the Order of the Teutonic Knights. Reaching adulthood he abandons the Crusaders, only to be pursued by a fanatical comrade and pay a terrible price for his rejection of the Holy Order. The film is a haunting moral fable examining the timeless conflict between human nature and dogmatism. Released just before the '68 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the film's theme was given a political interpretation and its screenings severely restricted by the authorities.