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Disapproving of his friend’s relationship, George refuses to bless the union and undeterred Martin asks an Anabaptist priest to perform the marriage ceremony.With the church’s resident executioner consorting with Anabaptists George is fearful that control is slipping in Tyrol and when word spreads that a rival religious group is gaining momentum everybody starts to expect an imminent visit from the Spanish Inquisition.Anabaptists live within the vicinity preaching an alternative interpretation of the gospel.
The new world had just been discovered, mass illiteracy was widespread across the continent, and spiritual salvation was only accorded to those who were rich enough to pay tithes.
With an unshakeable belief in its self defined and imposed status as the only legitimate religious creed the Catholic church waged war against nation states that were governed by a different belief system and punished those who dared to openly express differing interpretations of the gospels.
After spending several years honing his craft in the advertising industry Swiss director Simon Aeby made his feature film début with the effective small scale film Three Below Zero.
A European film shot on location in New York, it was, as most first features are, an economical production.
His illustrious military career will carry no further weight amongst Tyrol’s townsfolk if he enters into marital union with Anna and for the rest of his days he will be robbed of all social standing.
Having resigned his army commission Martin’s subsequent marriage to Anna renderes him unemployable within Tyrol but at this point fate intervenes and he is presented him with an unexpected opportunity.Shadow of the Sword is first and foremost a story about friendship, love, betrayal, corruption, greed, and courage in an age of religious intolerance and state sponsored oppression.Believing the film’s subject matter to be universal and relevant to the modern age the producers shot the film in English knowing that this would increase opportunities for international distribution.Forced to live beyond the town’s boundaries, unwelcome in local hostelries and market places the executioner is a social pariah feared by the very same populace who congregate in large numbers to witness him decapitating whatever person who have been convicted of spurious charges by a dishonest legislative framework.Martin falls in love with the executioner’s daughter, Anna (Anastasia Griffith), despite knowing that association with her will turn him into a persona non grata.George’s tolerance of this group places him in direct conflict with his superiors and invites the possibility that the Spanish Inquisition may descend upon the town at any moment to sterilise the area.