At the beginning of the sound films era, Gustav Machaty was certain that he appeared in a turbulent era of cinematography, characterized by unprecedented entrepreneurial risk, and the ability to try new directional techniques to test an artistic potential of an innovated media and at the same time the opportunity to further define trends in a film form. Extase is a result of the experience with previous two sound films - Ze Soboty Na Nedeli and Naceradec, Kral Kibicu, where Machaty wasn’t fully satisfied with their economic and artistic results.
It can be considered as one of the best Czech movies ever. As every work of this self-centered genius director, it balances on the edge between perfection and exaggerated sentimentality. Nevertheless, this film contains most intense scenes of the Czech cinematography. No wonder it’s a groundbreaking work, which holds several primacies. Apart from already mentioned nudity, which feels very decent, as a natural part of the film, it is mainly composition that is very interesting. Sophisticated connection of music and camera works with mix of genres, presents a deep poetic experience with drama and humor altogether.
The choice of actors added to the success of the film. Young Heda is without doubts the most interesting of them all. I was personally surprised of the unorthodox use of camera, which was able to play with the composition as well as with focus on details. In the otherwise very well-balanced work, the last 9 minutes from construction were quite disturbing, although it is necessary to admit that it was impossible to reproach them for the artistic side. Although it was an audio movie, it was shot as a silent movie with additional sound.
It would be great if this great movie is remastered in the future, but the work is still quite phenomenal.