on May 08, 1998 by Kevin Courrier
   Petr Vaclav's feature debut, which won a Silver Leopard at the Locarno fest, is a humanistic attempt to show how an abandoned gypsy boy, incarcerated since age 3, grows up to be a criminal because the institutionalized violence and abuse to which he's subjected corrupts his wild spirit and destroys his gypsy heritage. Vaclav might have good intentions but, unfortunately, that doesn't make "Marian" a worthy successor to Truffaut's "The 400 Blows."
   Vaclav lurches from one scene to the next without giving the material (or the characters) dramatic shape or clarity. The film becomes so unimpressionable that, when one character turns up dead, a moviegoer is likely to forget who he was when he was alive. And, because Vaclav portrays his protagonist as a tragic victim of the system rather than a tragic figure, he doesn't allow the boy any ambiguity. "Marian" turns out to be twice doomed.    Starring Stefan Ferko, Milan Cifra and Tereza Zajickova. Directed by Petr Vaclav. Written by Petr Vaclav and Jan Sikl. Produced by Kristina Petrova and Petr Vaclav. A Turbulent Arts release. Drama. Czech-language; English subtitles. Unrated. Running time: 109 min. Screened at the 1996 Toronto fest.
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