Tomas, the son of a poor herdsman in medieval central Europe, can communicate with animals and win their trust, even aloof birds of prey. The boy falls in love with his feudal lord’s beautiful daughter, becomes ensnared in court intrigue, and eventually helps good (a wise but misunderstood chief falconer) triumph over evil (the falconer’s dark and conniving former protege). Slovakian director Vaclav Vorlicek tells a ripping good yarn, set against a landscape of rocky cliffs, thick-forested hills, and deep stream-fed valleys. But he also paints a compelling portrait of medieval life in all its squalor: Tomas and his family live a fulfilling but dirty life as the baron’s vassals, and court life isn’t much better. 97 min.