The Picnic

drama, psychological

Typology

feature

Czech title

Piknik

Runtime

68

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1967

Production year

1967

Premiere

01.03.1968

Language version

Czech

Director

Vladimír Sís, Ladislav Smoček

Summary

A single film is found against the name of dramatist, writer and theatre director Ladislav Smoček in the archives. That credit stems from Smoček’s conversion of his stage drama Piknik (The Picnic, 1965) for the silver screen. In making the film in 1967, he cooperated with seasoned film director Vladimír Sís. The low-budget rarity takes place on a Pacific island in 1945. In the middle of an impenetrable jungle five US Marines are searching for their Japanese adversaries. But a tension envelopes the soldiers. It is fuelled by the fear of the invisible enemy. A deepening paranoia causes the men to start mistrusting one another, following the disappearance of a sergeant… The motion picture, initially shot on a film set established on Žitný island in Slovakia, and at later stages in real jungle in Cambodia, boasts a star-studded cast (Pavel Landovský, Miroslav Macháček, Jiří Hálek, Josef Somr, Milan Sandhaus).

Synopsis

A tropical island in the Pacific, the year is 1945. A detachment of five American soldiers slog their way through a jungle overgrown with bamboo and liana vines. They are heading for the island's interior, in search of the enemy, the Japanese soldiers. As the evening draws near, they halt at a clearing surrounded by thick vegetation. The place could be a trap. As they search the surroundings they find a path. Perhaps it's the animals that made it, but it may have been the enemy. The soldiers are tired and don't want to carry on scouting, and the Sergeant Grackmiller sets off by himself. The rest of the men fall asleep, but they soon wake up and begin to talk. Their voices are apprehensive and alarmed by the unusual noise coming from the jungle. The ironical Smile disappears in the jungle to learn what is causing the racket. At first there is a sound of his steps moving through the jungle and then there is a strange sound, as if someone were dragging something along the ground. When Smile returns, his face pale, the suspicious Burda and Tall go into the bushes to investigate but find nothing there. Time passes and the sergeant does not return. In the distance, we see the Japanese squad noiselessly moving through the jungle. Rozden and Smile get drunk and begin to shout loudly, to sing and to quarrel. Tall suggests that Smile may have killed the sergeant. The others are tainted with his suspicion. They hurl themselves on Smile and nearly beat him to death. In the morning, the soldiers are heading back without the sergeant when the Japanese attack them. In a little while, the shooting ceases and dead silence falls over the jungle.

Cast

Jiří Hálek

vojín Slim Rozden

Milan Sandhaus

četař Grackmiller

Pavel Landovský

kaprál Robert Burda

Josef Somr

vojín Bill Tall

Miroslav Macháček

vojín Edy Smile

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Milan Kadlec, Bohumil Kouba, Milan Kadlec

Assistant Director

Jiří Růžička st., Jana Novotná

Based on

Ladislav Smoček (Piknik – divadelní hra)

Shooting Script

Vladimír Sís

Second Unit Photography

Bohumil Rath

Production Designer

Karel Lier

Art Director

Jiří Kovařík

Set Designer

Čestmír Diviš, Vladimír Ježek, Ladislav Winkelhöfer

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Jiří Pavlík

Production Manager

Zdeněk Oves

Unit Production Manager

Richard Němec, Jaroslav Vágner

Unit Production Manager

Ctibor Jeřábek

Cooperation

Emanuela Peterová, Vilemína Binterová, Jitka Šulcová, Libuše Jahodová

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Klusák

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Songs

Ahoj Ando

Singer

Jiří Hálek (Ahoj Ando), Pavel Landovský (Ahoj Ando)

Production info

Original Title

Piknik

English Title

The Picnic

Copyright

1967

Production Year

1967

Premiere

01.03.1968

Creative Group

Šmída – Fikar, Ladislav Fikar, Bohumil Šmída

Technical info

Versions

Czech