Kino-Automat – Man and His House

experimental, comedy

Typology

feature

Lenght

long

Czech title

Kinoautomat Člověk a jeho dům

Runtime

108 min

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1967

Production year

1966

Premiere

29.05.1967

Language version

Czech

Director

Ján Roháč, Radúz Činčera, Vladimír Svitáček

Summary

Kinoautomat was a unique film project presented to the world by Czechoslovakia during the EXPO ’67 world fair in Montreal, Canada. It was directed by Radúz Činčera, in close co-operation with co-directors Ján Roháč and Vladimír Svitáček, writer Pavel Juráček, and technical expert Jaroslav Frič. The main selling point of the Kinoautomat project is that it is purportedly the world’s first interactive film. The hour-long situation comedy follows the exploits of the hapless Mr. Novák, offering viewers the chance to vote to influence events at key points in the story. The choice between two pre-filmed options was moderated live in front of audiences by Mr. Novák actor Miroslav Horníček. In Czechoslovakia, the 1968 screening of this film necessitated the costly reconstruction of Prague’s Světozor cinema. However, in 1972, regime censors permanently banned this whimsical tale – which begins with the slamming of a door, and ends with a house fire – indefinitely for non-specified “ideological” reasons.

Synopsis

A big Prague apartment building is on fire. Mr Novák, tenant of the apartment on the sixth floor, considers himself the culprit of the fire. On that day, his wife had a birthday and Mr Novák went home with a bouquet and was slightly drunk. Thus, it happened that he mistakenly rang the bell of the neighbouring flat of the Svobodas. Then he sobered somewhat and eventually found the way to his own apartment. The young and pretty Mrs Svobodová was taking a shower. When she ran out to find out who rang the bell, wrapped only in a bath sheet, the draft slammed her door shut. The desperate blonde rang Mr Novák's bell and forced herself into his apartment, where she was soon discovered by her husband and Mr Novák' wife. Mr Svoboda, blinded by jealousy, refused to let his wife home, and the offended Mrs Nováková left by taxi. Her husband tried to catch up with her in his car, but was detained by the police. After his return home, the situation became even more complicated, for the half-naked Mrs Svobodová was still in the Nováks' living room and their family relatives had arrived to congratulate Mrs Nováková. The blonde, chilled to the bone, did not stay long in her hide-out on the balcony, especially as she realized she had left a plugged-in iron at home. Rushing pass the alarmed Nováks' relatives, she began to scream hysterically trying to get into her flat. Novák tried to switch off the house electricity mains, but the unpleasantly strict doorman kept him from doing it. - Now, Mr Novák, alongside his wife who has already forgiven him, stands in front of the burning building and is convinced it was him who caused the fire. But things are not always what they seem. The iron was switched off by Mr Svoboda right upon his return and the house was set on fire by a very old lady teacher from the seventh floor, now in her second childhood, who wanted to enjoy the firemen's rescue slide chute.

Note

Kino-Automat won the competition for Czechoslovak participation at the EXPO 67 World Exhibition in Montreal and was the main part of the programme of the Czechoslovak Pavilion. The project became the first interactive filmwork in the world: the first to use the play of the public with the film as well as the play of the filmmakers with the public. Its name was derived from the motto of EXPO 67, „Man and His World“. Later, the principle of Kino-Automat was presented in many other countries, including the USA and Japan, under various titles (Kino-Labyrinth, Caleidoscope, etc.) In Prague, Kino-Automat was launched in the Světozor cinema in 1971. According to the inventor of the idea, Radúz Činčera, „...the substance of Kino-Automat does not lie in the combination of film with live actors, as is often mistakenly thought and as is the case of Laterna Magica. Its principle is based on the possibility of direct participation of the viewers in the story in progress. The film story stops many times during the performance and the viewers have the possibility to influence its further progress according to their own wishes. The viewers‘ opinion is found by an electric voting appliance run by a computer and the plain majority decides, on behalf of the main character, how the story is going to proceed. This direct participation in the story in progress substitutes the atmosphere of a theatre performance, thus, for the first time in the history of cinematography, breaking through one of the basic barriers between theatre and film.“ The film was projected to the main screen from 35mm film tracks by four projectors (only three in Prague), and, to the side screens, by two 16mm-projectors. The relevant sound accompaniment was recorded on four magnetic foots of 35mm film and both the projection of the picture and the reproduction of sound were controlled automatically from the production managersʹs control unit, which allowed for the director to director affect the course of the programme. The active participation of the viewers in the story was made possible by buttons connected to the seats in the auditorium. The whole appliance was accompanied by an informative frame situated on the perimeter of the main screen. The viewers were thus able to follow both the course of action and the results of voting. The technical equipment was designed by Bohumil Míka and Zdeněk Malina and the architect of the stage was Josef Svoboda.

Cast

Miroslav Horníček

Petr Novák

Libuše Švormová

Marta, Novákova žena

Josef Somr

soused Pavel Svoboda

Karla Chadimová

Eva, Svobodova žena

Miroslav Macháček

štábní kapitán v. v. Machač

Leopolda Dostalová

sousedka Zemková, bývalá učitelka

Jan Libíček

vrátný

Jan Vostrčil

strýc Jan

Věra Tichánková

teta Klára

František Kovářík

dědeček Karel

Václav Lohniský

strýc Václav

František Peterka

hasič, přítel Svobodové

Jiří Schmitzer

student, milenec studentky

Ela Šilarová

sousedka

Vlastimila Vlková

dubl za Leopoldu Dostalovou – jízda na skluzavce

Commentary

Dubbing

Alena Vránová

hlas Kinoautomatu

Crew and creators

Assistant Director

Věra Pištěková

Script Supervisor

Jiřina Matiasková, Jana Rozbrojová

Production Designer

Boris Moravec

Set Designer

František Straka

Costume Designer

Jan Brychta

Make-Up Artist

Miloslav Jandera

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Production Manager

Ladislav Kalaš

Unit Production Manager

Jan Balzer, Adolf Široký, František Štěpánek

Cooperation

Bohumil Mika (projekt technického zařízení kinoautomatu), Zdeněk Malina (projekt technického zařízení kinoautomatu), Josef Svoboda (architekt scény kinoautomatu), Jaroslav Frič (technická spolupráce)

Music

Music Composed by

Evžen Illín

Music Performed by

Orchestr Karla Vlacha

Music Conducted by

Milivoj Uzelac (Orchestr Karla Vlacha)

Singer

Vokální soubor Jiřího Linhy

Production info

Original Title

Kinoautomat Člověk a jeho dům

English Title

Kino-Automat – Man and His House

Category

film

Typology

feature

Genre

experimental, comedy

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1967

Production Year

1966

Premiere

29.05.1967

Distribution

Ústřední půjčovna filmů (původní 1971), kino Světozor (obnovená 2007), Alena Činčerová (obnovená 2007)

Technical info

Lenght

long

Runtime

108 min

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1967

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Zdeněk Liška

Vítěz

Event: Peněžitá odměna za film v rámci hodnocení produkce Filmového studia Barrandov v roce 1967

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Ján Roháč

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1967

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jaroslav Frič

Vítěz

Event: Peněžitá odměna za film v rámci hodnocení produkce Filmového studia Barrandov v roce 1967

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Radúz Činčera

Vítěz

Event: Čestný titul Zasloužilý umělec

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Miroslav Horníček

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1967

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Radúz Činčera

Vítěz

Event: Peněžitá odměna za film v rámci hodnocení produkce Filmového studia Barrandov v roce 1967

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Pavel Juráček

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1967

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Emil Radok

Vítěz

Event: Peněžitá odměna za film v rámci hodnocení produkce Filmového studia Barrandov v roce 1967

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Vladimír Svitáček