I Survived My Own Death

drama

Typology

feature

Czech title

Přežil jsem svou smrt

Runtime

93

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1960

Production year

1960

Premiere

18.11.1960

Language version

Czech

Director

Vojtěch Jasný

Screenplay

Milan Jariš

Screenstory

Milan Jariš

Summary

The 1960s brought about a fresh and more complex examination of the question of heroism, betrayal and the moral compromises necessary for people to survive occupation during the Second World War. This 1960 drama from director Vojtěch Jasný serves as one of the first Czechoslovak films to ride this new wave of more controversial subject matters. The story is set in a Nazi death camp, and centres on prisoner Tonda Majer. The young boxer finds himself in a concentration camp after getting into a fight with a man who turns out to be a Gestapo officer. The formerly apolitical Tonda gains the respect of both fellow prisoners and his captors by demonstrating unwavering resolve and forthrightness. Ultimately, the camp’s brutal methods lead Tonda towards joining the ranks of the illegal communist underground. As part of offering up a story deemed “correct” by the existing regime, the filmmakers manage to touch upon issues of collaboration by certain prisoners, and the existence of forced prostitution at such camps for “non-political” inmates. František Peterka excels in the leading role of this classic drama – the actor’s coarse features and natural style meant that only rarely was he afforded a chance at larger and more challenging roles.

Synopsis

One man stands out among a group of new prisoners just arrived at a concentration camp - the well-built young boxer Tonda Majer. Questioned by the nazi officer he states that he is a communist and that he was convicted for illegal activities. This is not true, however, in reality he had used his boxing talents in the street against a man who, unknown to him, was a member of the Gestapo. His proud attitude saves his life since, paradoxically, the guards are impressed by him. His fellow prisoners are at first suspicious that he is a provocateur, however, they gradually come to recognize his straight-forward nature. The shocking cruelty and sadism of the nazis who senselessly torture and murder the prisoners lead the young boxer to join an illegal camp organization. He smuggles bread over to the Russian prisoners who are dying of hunger in the adjacent camp. When he is caught he decides it is best to confess to stealing the bread and he is relegated to the punitive commando. The arduous work nearly kills him but one of the fellow prisoners saves his life. He is again caught trying to smuggle acid to the illegal group. He is tortured until he falls unconscious but his fellow prisoners manage to get him into the prison hospital. A dead prisoner is given his number and Tonda survives the War under a different name.

Film online

Cast

František Peterka

vězeň Tonda Majer

Jiří Sovák

vězeň Josef

Václav Lohniský

vězeň Ruda

Martin Ťapák

ruský vězeň Vaska

Paul Berndt

rotný SS (Scharführer)

Hans-Joachim Hegewald

vrchní šikovatel SS (Hauptscharführer)

Fred Delmare

blokový Unek

Fred Düren

vězeň Georg

Wojciech Siemion

polský vězeň Tadek

Rudolf Asmus

vězeň, židovský zpěvák

Vlastimil Brodský

vězeň lékař

Vladislav Hamšík

vrchní šikovatel

Miroslav Homola

brýlatý vězeň

Vladimír Menšík

kápo Hranáč, dříve kasař

Ervín Zolar

vězeň písař

Václav Babka

jednoruký vězeň

Richard Falbr

španělský vězeň Olejo

Jarka Pižla

vězeň, divák na boxu

Hana Hegerová

Cikánka

Július Torma

boxer, italský vězeň

Karel Jelínek

vězeň Pelzer

Eugen Jegorov

vězeň s klarinetem

Josef Koza

vězeň

Zdeněk Kutil

poddůstojník SS

Jiří Lír

tlumočník

František Miška

židovský vězeň

Jindřich Narenta

příslušník SS v lomu

František Pálka

velitel tábora

Zdeněk Řehoř

světlovlasý vězeň

Georgis Skalenakis

francouzský vězeň Pierre

Jan Šelle

kápo

Oto Ševčík

německý vězeň

Zlatomír Vacek

blokový v karanténě

Cyril Hykel

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Vladimír Brebera

Assistant Director

Dagmar Zelenková, Miroslav Ondráček, Tomáš Kulík

Screenstory

Milan Jariš

Screenplay

Milan Jariš

Shooting Script

Vojtěch Jasný

Camera Operator

Jiří Štaud, Karel Dobřichovský

Production Designer

Karel Lier

Film Editor

Jan Chaloupek

Sound Designer

Jaromír Svoboda

Production Manager

Jiří Bečka

Unit Production Manager

František Novák

Consultant

Milan Jariš, plk. Alois Bíca

Music

Music Composed by

Svatopluk Havelka

Selected Music

Franz Schubert (Ave Maria)

Songs

Ave Maria, Housličky jalové

Songwriter

Franz Schubert (Ave Maria)

Singer

Rudolf Asmus (Ave Maria)

Production info

Original Title

Přežil jsem svou smrt

English Title

I Survived My Own Death

Copyright

1960

Production Year

1960

Premiere

18.11.1960

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Creative Group

Šebor – Bor, Vladimír Bor, Jiří Šebor

Technical info

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 3. mezinárodní filmový festival Mar del Plata

1961
Mar del Plata / Argentina
Vojtěch Jasný

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1961

1961
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Československý film

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 15. výročí zrodu lidově-demokratické Československé republiky

1960
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Milan Jariš