The Seventh Day, the Eighth Night

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1969

Production year

1969

Premiere

1 June 1990

Runtime

104 min

Director

Evald Schorm

Category

film

Genre

allegory

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Den sedmý – osmá noc

Czech title

Den sedmý – osmá noc

English title

The Seventh Day, the Eighth Night

Working title

Než napočítáš do tří

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

Jan Libíček

Srandista

Květa Fialová

redaktorka Alena

Josef Bek

Baryton, herec Thalie

Bohumil Švarc

Tenor, herec Thalie

Luba Skořepová

Máří, herečka Thalie

Josef Němeček

Lazar, herec Thalie

Vladimír Jedenáctík

Bas, herec Thalie

Jaroslav Wagner

blázen Josef

Jana Marková

Eva, Učitelova žena

Eva Řepíková

děvečka Růženka

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

Jiří Lír

Účetní

Josefa Pechlátová

matka účetního

Václav Kotva

soused s hodinami

Josef Engel

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

Script Supervisor

Anna Lackovičová

Screenstory

Zdeněk Mahler

Shooting Script

Evald Schorm

Script Editor

Antonín Máša

Director of Photography

Václav Hanuš

Second Unit Photography

Michal Kulič

Camera Operator

Jiří Pospíšil

Production Designer

Karel Lier

Set Designer

Jiří Cvrček, Bohumil Kadlec, Jiří Pekárek, Karel Janda (2)

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

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Klusák

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín),

Songs

Hájku, háječku

Songwriter lidová píseň
Writer of Lyrics lidová píseň
Singer Václav Špidla

Neplačte nade mnou

Singer Josef Bek

Production info

Original Title

Den sedmý – osmá noc

Czech Title

Den sedmý – osmá noc

English Title

The Seventh Day, the Eighth Night

Working Title

Než napočítáš do tří

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

allegory

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1969

Production Year

1969

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 8 April 1969
technical Screenplay approved 18 June 1969
start of filming 1 July 1969
end of filming 20 August 1969
projection approval 19 December 1969 (neschváleno do distribuce)

Premiere

gala premiere 17 May 1990 (kino Lucerna, Praha)
premiere 1 June 1990 /unsuitable for youths/

Studio

bez ateliérů

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Novotný – Kubala, Bedřich Kubala (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Ladislav Novotný (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

104 min

Original length in metres

2 940 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech