I'd never heard of this film until I ran across it looking for another medieval film on Amazon. I was glad I ordered it. The film has echoes of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, ending on an ocean side instead of beginning there. The Valley of the Bees is much bleaker, however, which perhaps relates to the takeover over of Czechoslovakia in 1968. John Huston's "free love" 1969 medieval film A Walk with Life and Death is this film's near polar opposite (Huston's own skepticism about humanity darkens the ostensibly hippie-like aspects of the film). In Valley of the Bees, Knights who flee an unpleasant religious order are captured and returned. The brutalized and brutal hero of the film manages to escape and return home and marry. But his friend from the order shows up at the wedding and . . . . Staying home or returning to the order are equally unattractive options" neither secular nor religious happiness seem possible. The story and characters are equally interesting. Formally, composition of many of the shots, especially of medium full frontal closeups, is very effective as is the use of some very bright overexposed shots of daylight outside in a forest. Most intriguing is the sound, particularly the bees we hear when the hero becomes violent and the use of voice echoes when something emotionally disturbing happens; the recurrent sounds of the ocean, near the order, and a horn the religious order of knights uses to call its members back are used very effectively as well. The religious chants are also great. The film gets stronger as it moves along. I think it is one of he better medieval films available.