The Cremator (1968) - Juraj Herz
If Repulsion were a black comedy, then The Cremator would be it. Employing wildly distoring lenses, quick cutting, and a blending from Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism, Herz film is quite loaded. Music plays a roll throughout. Eerie choirs sing during a murderous pursuit, and it is commented in the film, by Karl Kopfrkingl's (Rudolf Hrusinsky) love of music. Only a sensitive person can appreciate music, and he mourns for people who haven't experienced Liszt or Schubert. One of my favorite laughs was when he wanted to here "Danse Macarbe" because it was more lively.
The mysterious black haired woman has been interpreted as a few things. She is the silent character juxtaposed to the music, a watcher of sorts. Her role is like the masked performers in Double Suicide, frequently popping up, and possibly reminding us of the drama. The first time I saw her, I viewed her as the younger version of Lakme (Vlasta Chramostova), Karl's wife. She is a reminder of who he was vs. who he's becoming, and her appearance always seems a grim reminder. Likewise when he wonders where she will be incarnated after her death, this sheds a possible solution. Quite a good film, and I'm glad to have revived the festival on the strength of this.