White Darkness

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1948

Production year

1947—1948

Premiere

27 August 1948

Runtime

102 min

Category

film

Genre

drama, psychological, war

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Bílá tma

Czech title

Bílá tma

English title

White Darkness

Working title

Děti této země

Summary

František Čáp made this war movie in order to celebrate 4th anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising. The filmmakers also created one episode based on the true events of this Uprising, where they focus on the connection of Czech, Slovak and Soviet partisans or soldiers and highlight the role of Soviet Army’s members, only due to the ideology at the time. Political pathos is balanced with professional and impressive editing of a good quality. However, it is obvious that the making of the film was done under difficult circumstances (realized in studios in Prague and Bratislava). – During the retreat into the mountains, the partisan brigade must leave several wounded in the blizzard in small wooden hut, hidden under the snow in an inaccessible place. They are left with a doctor, a nurse named Katka, two villagers from a nearby village who joined the partisans, and a girl named Rozka, who was the only one of her family to save herself from the Germans. The enemy soldiers are gradually withdrawing around the hut... – The name Bílá tma (White Darkness) represents a big snowstorm. – The film was shown at the III International Film Festival in Mariánské Lázně in 1948, where it won the itinerant National Award for the best Czechoslovak film. At the same time, it was screened at the First Workers' Film Festival in Zlín, but was condemned by the workers' jury, who accused the film of pathos in its dialogue, lack of optimism and naturalism. František Čáp was disrespectful of the jury's claims, which cost him his future career in the Czechoslovak cinema. For this reason he later emigrated and laid the foundations of Slovenian cinema. – The film was released in February 2018 as part of the National Film Archive's Filmové osmičky project, along with other titles associated with the anniversaries of events of modern Czechoslovak/Czech history in the years ending with the number 8.

Synopsis

The end of the Second World War is approaching. A partisan brigade is retreating to the Slovak mountains. Their movement is slowed down by a few, who are seriously wounded. Brigade's commander therefore decides to lay off the wounded in a forest underground shelter, where a doctor, two nurses and two partisans stay with them. They promise to return for them later. In the shelter food runs out soon, and so both partisans decide to go down to the village where their families live. Only one of them gets to the village. He takes the food, and with his young son heads up back to the mountains. On their way they are confronted by German soldiers, and only the boy manages to escape. But he is not strong enough to climb the steep slope to the shelter and falls down. Under the rock he is found by a Soviet partisan, and even though it means abandoning the food, he drags him up to the shelter. The wounded are suffering from severe hunger, and so the doctor goes to get some help. After his departure the shelter is surrounded by Germans. At this moment the wounded and two women find strength to resist. Their desperate fight is suddenly aided by an attack of the Red Army and everybody is saved.

Cast

Július Pántik

nedostudovaný lékař Pavel Kafka

Mária Prechovská

ošetřovatelka v lazaretu Katka

Boris Andrejev

sovětský partyzán Dugin

Nataša Tanská

ošetřovatelka Rozka Kafková

Jozef Budský

Laco Pánek

L. H. Struna

Jan Holeša

Oľga Sýkorová

Hana Holešová

Július Bártfay

Jano, syn Holešových

Jozef Kováč

jedlík

Martin Ťapák

Nikolaj Grigorjevič Nazarov

Rudolf Deyl ml.

Karel Zika

Vladimír Durdík st.

major Mráz, velitel partyzánské brigády Štefánik

Jozef Šándor

spojka brigády Adam Hloško

Radovan Lukavský

německý velitel

Zdeněk Hodr

německý voják

Gustáv Valach

partyzán Demo

Ľudovít Ozábal

partyzán

Juraj Paška

raněný

Juraj Šebok

nosič

M. Paška

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Ján Jamnický (spolupracovník režiséra)

Assistant Director

František Jelínek (asistent scény), Robert Vyhlídka (asistent scény), Hubert Novotný (asistent scény)

Based on

Růžena Fischerová (Děti této země – filmová povídka)

Director of Photography

Václav Huňka

Camera Operator

Jaroslav Kníže, Jiří Šafář

Production Designer

Karel Škvor

Assistent Production Designer

Miroslav Pelc

Film Editor

Jan Kohout

Assistant Film Editor

Jarmila Müllerová

Production Manager

Josef Beran

Unit Production Manager

František Novák

Background Painter

Ferdinand Martinásek (malíř pozadí)

Consultant

mjr. Ján Hudec, mjr. Jan Mareš

Cooperation

Antonín Frič (fotograf), Vojenská posádka z Popradu, Vojenská posádka z Vyšných Hág, obyvatelé Štrby

Music

Music Composed by

Jiří Srnka

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Otakar Pařík)

Songs

Nad Tatrou sa blýská

Song Composer lidová slovenská píseň

Production info

Original Title

Bílá tma

Czech Title

Bílá tma

English Title

White Darkness

Working Title

Děti této země

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama, psychological, war

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1948

Production Year

1947—1948

Production specifications

start of filming 02/1947
projection approval 21 July 1948 (konec povolení k promítání 21. 7. 1953)
withdrawal from distribution 1 October 1968

Premiere

premiere 27 August 1948 /suitable for youths/ (kina Lucerna /4 týdny/, Sevastopol /1 týden od 3. 9./, Dukla /1 týden od 17. 9./ a Revoluce /1 týden od 17. 9./, Praha)
renewed premiere 1 February 2018 /unsuitable for children under 12/

Distribution slogan

Dedicated to those who suffered for our cause and believed in our victory. (1948) / no caption (2018)

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Creative Group

V. výrobní skupina Vávra – Feix, Karel Feix (produkční šéf V. výrobní skupiny), Otakar Vávra (umělecký šéf V. výrobní skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

102 min

Original length in metres

3 028 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm, DCP 2-D, BRD

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech, German, Slovak, Russian

Subtitles languages

Czech

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Karel Škvor

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Václav Huňka

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Boris Andrejev

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Srnka

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
František Čáp

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jan Kohout

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
František Šindelář

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Leopold Lahola

Vítěz

Festival: 3. mezinárodní filmový festival Mariánské Lázně

1948
Mariánské Lázně / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Július Pántik

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Růžena Fischerová

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
František Čáp

Vítěz

Event: Aprobační komise pro schvalování českých filmů

1948
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Oľga Sýkorová

Vítěz

Event: Soutěž Ústřední filmové dramaturgie na filmový námět

1946
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Růžena Fischerová