The End of a Priest

allegory, tragicomedy

Typology

feature

Czech title

Farářův konec

Runtime

95

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1968

Production year

1968

Premiere

10.01.1969

Language version

Czech

Director

Evald Schorm

Screenplay

Josef Škvorecký, Evald Schorm

Screenstory

Josef Škvorecký

Summary

Besides Zločin v šantánu (Crime in the Nightclub), in 1968 the writer Josef Škvorecký also contributed to the bitter comedy Farářův konec (The End of a Priest) as the author of the original idea and screenwriter. Together with the director Evald Schorm, he created a story whose protagonist is an inept sexton, who decides to leave his job in a big church in the city. He sets off for a new life in a remote mountain village, where by coincidence people are desperately looking for a priest to administer the last rites to someone. At first, the sexton tries in vain not to be considered part of a “miracle,” but in the end he reconciles himself to the role of new spiritual pastor – and because he performs the job judiciously with an understanding of human weakness, the quirky villagers soon take him to their hearts. The local schoolmaster, who is propagating an atheist education in the spirt of communist ideas, is strongly averse to this. Until now, he had been the village community’s celebrity. The self-assuredness of “healthy reason,” which the manipulative and careerist schoolmaster crows about, stands against the faith of a simple man who has humbly taken a coveted task upon himself. The teacher tries to discredit this false priest of obvious moral authority. Ultimately, he denounces him and causes a tragic finale… In The End of a Priest, Evald Schorm used a “theatre” framework – just like he did in his subsequent film Den sedmý – osmá noc (The Seventh Day – the Eighth Night, 1969). Whereas in The End of a Priest, a group of fairground comedians presents the plot of a modern broadside ballad, it is again possible to see it as a Passion Play that is a parable about the Soviet occupation. In both instances, it concerns a variation on the fate of Jesus. Škvorecký’s idea, however, is based on a newspaper article from that time about a man who pretended to be a priest somewhere in the Eagle Mountains. The meaningful setting of the story is a Czech village in the 1950s which becomes an allegory for the totalitarian system. Vlastimil Brodský and Jan Libíček excel in the lead roles in Schorm’s masterpiece. Josef Škvorecký himself played the small role of a professor appearing on television.

Synopsis

The sexton of a large church in the city causes a scandal at a diplomatic wedding by clumsiest. In the sacristy, where he has fled, he is discovered by an elderly couple, their adolescent grand-daughter and her illegitimate child. The family force the sexton to baptize their sickly newborn, and the child revives with loud crying. On their advice, the sexton moves to a small village in the mountains. The village needs a spiritual guide, especially now that the bed-ridden granny, cleared away to a farm loft, has decided to die of boredom and wants to have the last rites. The sexton's arrival is deemed a miracle and the man becomes a parish priest at the local church despite his own resistance to the idea. The locals are finally able to give their confessions and grow very fond of the sympathetic man. The village schoolmaster, previously the spiritual figure of the village, is jealous of the "priest" and makes every effort to get rid of him. He thinks up a trap, luring Majka, the local girl of easy virtue, to a haystack outside the village together with the "priest". The angry locals fail to catch the "priest", who escapes the scene on time. The local beggar dies in the haystack as it accidentally catches fire. Two bishops pay a visit to the village. They soon expose the sexton's true identity. The schoolmaster, who informed on the sexton to the police, goes to the church to warn him that he will be arrested. The sexton tries to escape, swinging hand over hand along a beam but cannot keep his balance. He hits the floor and dies amid a crowd of onlookers.

Film online

Cast

Vlastimil Brodský

kostelník Albert

Vladimír Valenta

hospodář

Josefa Pechlátová

babička v posteli

Martin Růžek

Bílý biskup

Gueye Cheick

Černý biskup

Vladimír Jedenáctík

vandrák Lojza

Václav Kotva

Jan Páně

Jiří Lír

hejtman

Jan Cmíral

kovář

Jan Schmid

dráb

Antonín Pražák

hasič

Pavel Bošek

principál

Ivan Kraus

montér

Eva Řepíková

dívka

Jana Synková

francouzská dívka

Ludmila Lebedová

babička

Andrea Čunderlíková

mladá maminka Božka

Marie Rybníčková

pozorovatelka

Jiří Hartman

pozorovatel

Pavel Landovský

pozorovatel

Karel Bělohradský

pozorovatel

Petr Kopřiva

pozorovatel

Kovařík

pozorovatel

Kučírek

pozorovatel

Jiřina Jandová

svatebčanka

Karel Semerád

svatebčan

Václav Vodák

svatebčan

J. Havlíková

svatebčanka

Čelakovský

svatebčan

Kropáček

svatebčan

Zuzana Rumlová

svatebčanka

Karel Hovorka

cirkusák

Paul Leclér

ceremoniář

Josef Škvorecký

profesor v televizi

Marie Steinerová

Oktavián v Růžovém kavalírovi

Alena Nováková

Kněžna v Růžovém kavalírovi

Karel Mareš

řidič

Šulc

fízl

Petr Čunderlík

Franta

Jiří Roll

farář

Jiří Růžička

žák v kostkované košili

Dubbing

Jaroslav Moučka

hlas hasiče

Jaroslav Moučka

hlas řidiče

Crew and creators

Director

Evald Schorm

Second Unit Director

Josef Krameš

Assistant Director

Vít Hrubín, Luďka Žáková

Script Editor

Alexandr Kliment

Second Unit Photography

Petr Čech

Camera Operator

Bohumil Paris

Production Designer

Jindřich Goetz

Set Designer

Jiří Cvrček, Jaromír Dědek, Oldřich Halaza, Jan Schmid

Costume Designer

Svatava Sophová

Sound Designer

František Fabián

Production Manager

Věra Kadlecová

Unit Production Manager

Jaromír Kallista, Václav Havlík

Unit Production Manager

Vladimír Tišer

Consultant

prof. Rudolf Mertlík (latinské dialogy)

Cooperation

Olga Bourková, Milada Malínská, Helena Lehovcová, Karel Vacek

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Klusák

Selected Music

Richard Strauss (opera Růžový kavalír), Bedřich Smetana (opera Libuše)

Music Performed by

FISYO, Kühnův smíšený sbor

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Třináct černých loupežníků, Hájku, háječku, Blíž k tobě, Bože můj, Svatý Václave, Hospodin je můj pastýř (Biblické písně), Hajá, hajá, má panenka malá, Stromečky okolo Břežánky, Proč ptáci zpívají

Songwriter

lidová píseň (Třináct černých loupežníků), lidová píseň (Hájku, háječku), Lowell Mason (Blíž k tobě, Bože můj), Karel Vacek (hudebník) (Hajá, hajá, má panenka malá), Antonín Dvořák (Hospodin je můj pastýř), lidová píseň (Stromečky okolo Břežánky), Jaromír Klempíř (Proč ptáci zpívají)

Writer of Lyrics

lidová píseň (Třináct černých loupežníků), lidová píseň (Hájku, háječku), Václav Renč (Blíž k tobě, Bože můj), Karel Vacek (hudebník) (Hajá, hajá, má panenka malá), Žalm 23 (Hospodin je můj pastýř), lidová píseň (Stromečky okolo Břežánky), Jiří Štaidl (Proč ptáci zpívají)

Singer

Marie Landová (Třináct černých loupežníků), Eva Řepíková (Třináct černých loupežníků), sbor (Hájku, háječku), sbor (Blíž k tobě, Bože můj), Vladimír Jedenáctík (Hospodin je můj pastýř), sbor (Hajá, hajá, má panenka malá), Karel Gott (Proč ptáci zpívají), sbor (Stromečky okolo Břežánky), sbor (Svatý Václave)

Choreographer

Josef Koníček

Production info

Original Title

Farářův konec

English Title

The End of a Priest

Copyright

1968

Production Year

1968

Premiere

10.01.1969

Creative Group

Novotný – Kubala, Bedřich Kubala, Ladislav Novotný

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Setkání s krátkým filmem v Ligně

1969
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Evald Schorm

Vítěz

Exhibition: Přehlídka českých a slovenských filmů 69 Sorrento

1969
Sorrento / Italy
Evald Schorm