Princ Mamanek: Ludvik's Quest for Growth & Love (2023) DVD

Prince Louis Ottomar Charles XII, born Noble, is very close to his loving mother, Queen Ludmilla. However, Prince Louis is already a bit too old, he is 39 years old. He's afraid of almost everything, doesn't want to get married, and spends most of his life hanging around the castle and adjacent fields. The wise King Radomil therefore prepares an unexpected gift for him - the prince wakes up one morning in the forest in ordinary clothes and, accompanied by the rough knight Hudroval, he is to go out into the world to discover what life is all about and perhaps finally grow up. On his great adventurous journey, he encounters things he has only read about in books. He meets a powerful wizard, evil witches, a ghost, and the Lady Death herself... and maybe even finds the love of his life. What will mother say about all this? And will Father King be happy? 

I went to the cinema to see Prince Mamanek with sober expectations and left pleasantly surprised. I was surprised by the number of children in the cinema, as I suspected that this would not be primarily a fairy tale aimed at a young audience - and I was right. Prince Mamanek will be enjoyed primarily by older viewers who are willing to tolerate Budar's style of storytelling. While watching it, other genre films came to my mind - especially The Clockmaker's Apprentice (because of the symbolism of life and especially death), and Stardust (because of the witches, who were a bit too "little", but on the other hand had an unprecedented "background story"). 

Overall, I liked a lot of ideas in the film that the viewer doesn't see in every Czech fairy tale - whether it was a talking ancient oak tree, a hanged man afraid of Death, or a quest in the "realm of the dead". I was also intrigued by the frame story with the gravedigger, who eventually entered the central plot. I also have to praise the audio-visual treatment of the film - from the beautiful exteriors to the nice costumes and masks, to the pleasant musical accompaniment. Finally, I commend the accurate cast - it was nice to see Jana Nagyova after all these years. 

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