The Party and the Guests

allegory

Typology

feature

Czech title

O slavnosti a hostech

Runtime

68

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1966

Production year

1966

Premiere

30.12.1966

Language version

Czech

Director

Jan Němec

Summary

One of the most celebrated titles of the Czechoslovak New Wave. This 1966 picture was director Jan Němec’s second feature film following Démanty noci (Diamonds of the Night, 1964). Following that existential wartime drama, written in collaboration with author and screenwriter Arnošt Lustig, Němec teamed up with Ester Krumbachová for his second film. This screenwriter, author and designer was a key figure in the New Wave, which brought forth a dynamic and liberated aesthetic into the country’s cinema output. Her collaboration with director Věra Chytilová continued beyond the 1960s era, during which time Krumbachová also worked with Němec as a costume designer in Démanty noci, as well as on the scripts for Mučedníci lásky (Martyrs of Love, 1966) and O slavnosti a hostech (The Party and the Guests, 1966). The main characters in this loosely flowing tale are a group of people who, on an ideal summer’s day, head out to the birthday party of a highly-placed important personage. The jovial host presents a facade of well-being, but the open-air celebrations are disrupted by a seemingly insignificant minor annoyance. One of the guests – a brooding husband – leaves. This leads to a manhunt, led by Rudolf, a member of the host’s security detail. A hunting dog and most guests also join in. The reason for the fuss is that the missing guest has broken an unwritten rule of this micro-society, based on apathy, blasé lies, and a hushed-up sense of guilt. Němec’s minimalist story of escape can be read in various ways (primarily as a political allegory about the various masked forces pulling the strings behind-the-scenes, willing to liquidate anyone unwilling to partake in the “collective” celebration of the regime). During its premiere, the film offended regime sensibilities and was subsequently even subjected to a parliamentary inquiry. After briefly being banned outright, during the 1970s and 80s the film disappeared into the censor’s “vault”. The film features many noted Czech intellectuals of the day. Its Kafka-esque tones brought it much international acclaim.

Synopsis

It is a summer day. Several people in good humour are having a snack on a meadow. Josef is meticulously polite, Karel sips wine and keeps praising democracy, František proves to be a good companion, Eva and Marta are jolly girls. The only married couple is a talkative blonde and her taciturn and a bit withdrawn husband. After the snack, the company makes up, changes into cocktail dress and sets off to attend the birthday party of a high functionary. On a forest path, they are surrounded by a group of weird men. Rudolf, the leader of the gang, is seemingly sincere but in fact rather arrogant and aggressive. He divides the men and women into two groups and launches some kind of interrogation. Josef turns servile, Karel protests a little, becoming the target of Rudolf's assaults and minor violence. The host appears in between the trees in a white tuxedo, shouting Rudolf down but at the same time claiming him as his adopted son. All the visitors tenaciously pretend that everything was just a joke and seat themselves by set-up tables. The blonde weeps because her husband has left. He did not enjoy the company where no one likes anybody. The host feels offended. Rudolf decides to make everything right and sends his men headed by a dog-hunter to find the husband, arming himself with a gun. The subsequent man-hunt involves most of the guests. Those who remain put the candles off, sit by the tables in puzzlement and listen to the increasingly loud barking of a dog.

Cast

Jan Klusák

Rudolf

Pavel Bošek

František

Evald Schorm

manžel

Dana Němcová

nevěsta Olinka

Antonín Pražák

Antonín

Josef Podaný

tajemník

Otakar Bohata

host-knecht

Vladimír Tvrz

host-knecht

Jiří Kovařík

host-knecht

Adolf Široký

host-knecht

Vincenc Vávra

host-knecht

Josef Hrbek

host-knecht

Jaromír Komínek

host-knecht

Václav Vodák

host-knecht

Ctibor Sobotka

knecht

Zdeněk Mošnička

knecht

Alois Mottl

knecht

Stanislav Partl

knecht

Vl. Simín

knecht

Josef Elis

knecht

Pavel Šilhánek

knecht

Oldřich Lepšík

knecht

Jan Svoboda

knecht

Boh. Dvořák

svatebčan

Pavel Jaderník

svatebčan

Marie Jančová

svatebčanka

Herbert Kisza

svatebčan

Karel Volf

svatebčan

Jana Mašíková

svatebčanka

Vilém Nademlejnský

svatebčan

Jana Nováková

svatebčanka

Emanuel Pejška

svatebčan

Irena Pejšková

svatebčanka

Herbert Koza

svatebčan

Jiří Reichl

svatebčan

J. Tolar

svatebčan

Antonín Kolářský

číšník

Václav Rath

číšník

V. Maršálek

číšník

E. Vach

číšník

Michal Bošek

host

Jakub Gregor

host

Zdena Horová

host

Jiřina Jandová

host

Marie Smejkalová

host

Marie Karezová

host

Otta Kutil

host

Božena Soukupová

host

Marie Vávrová

host

Zuzana Vyskočilová

host

Helena Vyskočilová

host

Naďa Tronerová

host

Helena Šindelářová

host

Marta Tvrzová

host

Marie Simínová

host

H. Ťukalová

host

Crew and creators

Director

Jan Němec

Second Unit Director

Pavel Horák

Assistant Director

Věra Vláčilová

Shooting Script

Jan Němec

Camera Operator

Emil Hora

Production Designer

Oldřich Bosák

Art Director

Ester Krumbachová

Set Designer

Jaroslav Ciboch, Vladimír Mácha, Jiří Široký

Costume Designer

Ester Krumbachová

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Jiří Pavlík

Production Manager

Ladislav Kalaš

Unit Production Manager

Adolf Široký, Josef Mathauser

Unit Production Manager

Vlasta Mathauserová

Cooperation

Jana Cunderlová, Jitka Šulcová, Jiří Kotlář

Music

Music Composed by

Karel Mareš

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

O slavnosti a hostech

English Title

The Party and the Guests

Working Title

Zpráva o slavnosti a hostech

Copyright

1966

Production Year

1966

Premiere

30.12.1966

Creative Group

Švabík – Procházka, Jan Procházka, Erich Švabík

Technical info

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 11. Gran Premio – mezinárodní festival uměleckých filmů a filmů o umění Bergamo

1968
Bergamo / Italy

Vítěz

Event: Ceny Trilobit 1966

1967
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jan Němec

Vítěz

Event: Cena československé filmové kritiky za rok 1966

1967
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Anketa časopisu Film a doba

1967
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Ceny Trilobit 1966

1967
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Ester Krumbachová