American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"The Fifth Horseman is Fear" is such a nearly perfect film that it comes as a shock, in the last ten minutes, to discover how deeply involved you have become.
In this sense, it resembles Fellini's "8 1/2." The technique itself is such a pleasure to observe that the emotion steals unnoticed into the back of your mind. Then, at the end, the director pulls the strings and you realize the tragic meaning of the things you have seen.
"The Fifth Horseman" is the first film shown in this country by Zbynek Brynych, a 41-year-old director from Czechoslovakia. Yet it is unmistakably the work of a master, and I can only wonder whether Brynych has made other films or if his ability is natural, as Fellini's seems to be.
I mention Fellini because this film seems to have what Fellini and very few other directors are able to achieve: A sense of rhythm. It is not a series of scenes cut together, not a series of statements made one after another, but a total film, conceived as one complete idea.