A Boring Afternoon / A Dull Afternoon

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production year

1964

Premiere

23 July 1965

Runtime

14 min

Director

Ivan Passer

Category

film

Genre

short-story

Typology

featureshort

Original title

Fádní odpoledne

Czech title

Fádní odpoledne

English title

A Boring Afternoon / A Dull Afternoon

Summary

The prose of Bohumil Hrabal became a fascinating source of inspiration for directors of the Czechoslovak New Wave. In the film of short stories Perličky na dně (Pearls at the Bottom) from 1965, the future leading lights of the New Wave – Jiří Menzel, Jan Němec, Evald Schorm, Věra Chytilová, and Jaromil Jireš – gave a convincing demonstration of their abilities. Something similar was achieved by the half-hour Hrabal etude Sběrné surovosti (Cruelties of Life) by Juraj Herz, and the 14-minute story Fádní odpoledne (A Boring Afternoon) by the screenwriter and director Ivan Passer (1964), who was a close associate of Miloš Forman and who had a very successful feature debut in 1965 with Intimní osvětlení (Intimate Lighting). In his adaptation of the story of the same name from Hrabal’s collection of short stories Perlička na dně (Pearls of the Deep), he depicts the outwardly sleepy summer atmosphere of a suburban pub. The protagonists are individual guests who interact with each other – either consciously or because they find themselves together in the same time and space. An arrogant young man provoking the irritable innkeeper, a foursome of card players, an ex-footballer with a saucepan of sauerkraut, and an elegant woman walking the streets – these are all drawn into the action, which is given momentum by a game of football taking place nearby. The lost Sunday match, which passing fans enjoyed with a swagger, is an echo of collective futility: the wishes and desires of the individual characters are more like something from a summer dream looking toward the past than an impetus for action… In A Boring Afternoon, Ivan Passer proves himself to be a master of meaningless pauses and unspoken sentences that lay bare the existential timelessness of human existence with laconic kindness. The author of the original story and co-screenwriter Bohumil Hrabal appeared as one of the unnamed bar patrons in this film shot by the cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera.

Synopsis

An elderly man sits in a pub on a summer Sunday afternoon. At another table, four middle-aged ladies play cards and sing to themselves in a low voice. The publican is scandalized by a young man who keeps ordering one beer after another just by waving his hand, and chain-smokes without for a moment taking his eyes off a book entitled When Wolves Howl. A bunch of football fans comes to brace themselves with a drink and the elderly man refuse their offer to join them at the stadium because he fears for his weak heart. An ex-football player arrives with a casserole of pickled cabbage and starts to chat about long forgotten sport stars. The young man pays his bill and infuriates the publican by using a three-crown paper note - a refused tip - to light up his cigarette. The man with the cabbage is mesmerised by an elegantly dressed woman taking a walk on the street in front of the pub. The gloomy return of the football fans shows the results of the game. The elderly man want to take his medicine but his arm drops and his eyes remain staring out into nowhere. The elegant woman walks across the field, and the man with the cabbage follows her, like hypnotized.

Note

The film was distributed to Czech cinemas along with the Hungarian feature film Four Girls.

Cast

Kamila Turková

žena

Leopold Smolík

Josef Vaništa

Miloš Končický

Ota Hurych

Bohumil Hrabal

hráč kulečníku

Crew and creators

Director

Ivan Passer

Second Unit Director

Květa Ondráková

Assistant Director

Zdenka Petřková

Script Supervisor

Zdenka Karlovská

Based on

Bohumil Hrabal (Fádní odpoledne – povídka ze sbírky Perlička na dně)

Shooting Script

Ivan Passer

Script Editor

Václav Nývlt

Second Unit Photography

Miroslav Ondříček

Camera Operator

Jiří Štíbr, Vladimír Zajíc

Production Designer

Oldřich Bosák

Assistent Production Designer

Bohumil Nový

Set Designer

František Zajíček, Jan Vrňata, Viktor Fixl

Costume Designer

Marta Bártová

Make-Up Artist

František Novotný

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Assistant Film Editor

Eva Horázná, Jitka Šulcová

Sound Designer

Blažej Bernard

Assistant Sound Designer

Václav Kliegel

Production Manager

František Sandr

Unit Production Manager

Ludmila Tikovská, Luděk Marold, Věra Winkelhöferová

Unit Production Manager

Karel Kovář

Cooperation

Růžena Nováková (klapka)

Music

Songs

Mě na světě nic netěší, Vyšel měsíček, vyšel u lesa

Singer

ženský sbor (Mě na světě nic netěší), ženský sbor (Vyšel měsíček, vyšel u lesa)

Production info

Original Title

Fádní odpoledne

English Title

A Boring Afternoon / A Dull Afternoon

Category

film

Typology

feature

Genre

short-story

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production Year

1964

Premiere

23 July 1965

Distribution

Ústřední půjčovna filmů (původní 1965), Národní filmový archiv (obnovená 2021)

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Šmída – Fikar, Ladislav Fikar (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Bohumil Šmída (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Lenght

short

Runtime

14 min

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 19. mezinárodní filmový festival Locarno

1966
Locarno / Switzerland

Vítěz

Festival: 14. mezinárodní filmový týden Mannheim

1965
Mannheim / Federal Republic of Germany

Vítěz

Festival: 14. mezinárodní filmový týden Mannheim

1965
Mannheim / Federal Republic of Germany

Vítěz

Festival: 14. mezinárodní filmový týden Mannheim

1965
Mannheim / Federal Republic of Germany