The Seventh Day, the Eighth Night

allegory

Typology

feature

Czech title

Den sedmý – osmá noc

Runtime

104

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1969

Production year

1969

Premiere

01.06.1990

Language version

Czech

Director

Evald Schorm

Screenplay

Zdeněk Mahler, Evald Schorm

Screenstory

Zdeněk Mahler

Summary

Evald Schorm shot Den sedmý – osmá noc (The Seventh Day, the Eighth Night, 1969) as a response to the August 1968 Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, but the film was not released. As a result, the director, who died in December 1988, never got to see the premiere of his film which did not take place until 1990. This parable about Czech cowardice, cruelty, and pettiness is played out over the course of 24 hours in a village that hosts a travelling theatre company presenting biblical Passion Plays. Their performance is interrupted by a power cut, and the conniving villager Srandista (“Funny Guy”) is easily able to spread alarming news of imminent danger. The inhabitants quickly succumb to panic, becoming the victims of bullying or, conversely, finding totalitarian tendencies within themselves. Consequently, an evacuation in waiting railway carriages is not for everyone… The story, which includes an authentic experience of that period inserted by the co-screenwriter Zdeněk Mahler, moves from comedy to tragedy within the framework of an episodic structure, in which the writers spared no one. The rapid moral degradation of the characters corresponds to allegorical references to the story of Jesus’s life, which the protagonists simply don’t understand. Typically, the local madman becomes the only character capable of reflection... With a clinical, objective sense of distance, Schorm and Mahler rely on absurd situations and dialogue that presciently capture the atmosphere created by the encroachment of “real” socialism. The authentic period mood combined with the loss of ideals and certainties, as well as doubts concerning the future, properly reflect the rapid social changes that occurred in the autumn and early winter of 1968. It is obvious in the movie that the filmmakers were working under pressure. The impression of hurriedness and raw authenticity turns the film into a document of its time. Jan Libíček as Srandista stands out in an excellent cast. The director of the Passion Plays is Jan Kačer, who appears as Učitel (“the Teacher”) and who also played the lead role in Každý den odvahu (Courage for Every Day), which Schorm directed in 1964.

Synopsis

From a bird's eye view, the camera approaches a little village with its bustle. Village fool Josef gives away his things to his niggardly neighbours. A bus arrives to the village, carrying a group of travelling actors who begin to perform passion plays from the Bible. Editor Alena, lover of one of the actors, Baritone [Baryton], comes to see him. An electricity power failure interrupts the performance. Podgy, spiteful Joker [Srandista] spurs his friends to start spreading news of some kind of imminent danger that no one can escape except inside the wagons that have suddenly turned up at the station. The train dispatcher's wife misses her husband. In the darkness of the night, villagers yield to panic fuelled by the malicious Joker. Some people are bullied by others. A committee is organized, presided over by President [Předseda]. It begins to take decisions on who should be evacuated, since there will not be enough room for everybody in the wagons. That same night, the committee members organize a pig slaughter and, after getting dead drunk, they brutally rape the actress playing Mary. In the meantime, the villagers have boarded the wagons. The local teacher beats to death the train dispatcher with a shovel. Chaos breaks out by the train... Josef the village fool comes to the station. The wagons have dissapeared, and the only sign of the people are the belongings they left behind. A shrill sound accompanies the aerial view of the village with the solitary man.

Note

The film was received by the Central Film Distributors on the 19th of December 1969. However, it was not distributed and had its première only in 1990. Director of passion plays: Jan Kačer.

Film online

Cast

Jan Kačer

Učitel

Bohumil Šmída

Předseda

Jan Libíček

Srandista

Květa Fialová

redaktorka Alena

Josef Bek

Baryton, herec Thalie

Bohumil Švarc

Tenor, herec Thalie

Luba Skořepová

Máří, herečka Thalie

Josef Němeček (2)

Lazar, herec Thalie

Vladimír Jedenáctík

Bas, herec Thalie

Jaroslav Wagner

blázen Josef

Jana Marková

Eva, Učitelova žena

Eva Řepíková

děvečka Růženka

Jaroslav Mareš

Čeledín

Jiří Hálek

výpravčí Bedřich

Nina Divíšková

žena výpravčího

Karel Bělohradský

Voják, syn Předsedy

Zdeněk Sedláček

mladší syn Předsedy

Božena Böhmová

Předsedova žena

Jana Posseltová

žena s dětmi

Josef Elsner

Radní

Pavel Jiras

Radní

Jiří Lír

Účetní

Josefa Pechlátová

matka účetního

Václav Kotva

soused s hodinami

Josef Engel

vesničan

Jaroslav Klenot

vesničan

Jiří Plachý

vesničan

Zdeněk Srstka

vesničan

Jaroslav Tomsa

vesničan

Karel Vítek

vesničan

Ladislav Gzela

chalupník s jablky

J. Havlíková

tetka

Crew and creators

Director

Evald Schorm

Second Unit Director

Josef Krameš

Assistant Director

Milena Třešková, Anna Lackovičová

Screenstory

Zdeněk Mahler

Shooting Script

Evald Schorm

Script Editor

Antonín Máša

Second Unit Photography

Michal Kulič

Camera Operator

Jiří Pospíšil

Production Designer

Karel Lier

Costume Designer

Lída Novotná

Sound Designer

František Fabián

Production Manager

Věra Kadlecová

Unit Production Manager

Miroslav Dousek, Václav Havlík

Unit Production Manager

Vladimír Tišer, Jan Milič

Cooperation

Olga Bourková, Růžena Hejsková, Libuše Jahodová

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Klusák

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Hájku, háječku, Neplačte nade mnou

Songwriter

lidová píseň (Hájku, háječku)

Writer of Lyrics

lidová píseň (Hájku, háječku)

Singer

Václav Špidla (Hájku, háječku), Josef Bek (Neplačte nade mnou)

Production info

Original Title

Den sedmý – osmá noc

English Title

The Seventh Day, the Eighth Night

Copyright

1969

Production Year

1969

Premiere

01.06.1990

Creative Group

Novotný – Kubala, Bedřich Kubala, Ladislav Novotný

Technical info

Versions

Czech