This expressionist fairy tale has a playfully ominous score, freakishly beautiful sets and locations, and stunning, nearly wordless performances. It begins as the heroine endures a horrible childhood trauma, an experience that seems to set her up for a painful adulthood even as it fuels her abundant creativity. Fourteen years later, a landowner buys the 21-year-old from her apathetic stepfather, and she begins another emotional odyssey with her new keeper. He takes her from her native Slovakia to Germany, bullying her into first marrying him and then speaking to him. A vaguely menacing yet sympathetic antique dealer and an insightful, compassionate translator hover on the periphery of their quietly violent yet increasingly intimate relationship. Written and directed by Ivan Fila; with Lenka Vlasakova, Christian Redl, Hanna Schygulla, Miroslav Donutil, and Udo Kier. 100 min.