We Eat the Fruit of the Trees of Paradise / Fruit of Paradise

allegory

Typology

feature

Czech title

Ovoce stromů rajských jíme

Runtime

96

Country

Czechoslovakia, Belgium

Copyright

1969

Production year

1969

Premiere

31.07.1970

Language version

Czech

Director

Věra Chytilová

Screenplay

Ester Krumbachová, Věra Chytilová

Screenstory

Ester Krumbachová

Summary

Director Věra Chytilová’s tragicomic films often focused on themes turning on how “material fatigue”, curiosity and boredom can cause infidelity in a relationship. This film sees the director staying true to form with a loose adaptation of the biblical story of Adam and Eve (and the tempter serpent). Ovoce stromů rajských jíme (We Eat the Fruit of the Trees of Paradise) was the last film to be made by Chytilová in the liberal climate of 1960s Czechoslovakia. Made in close cooperation with screenwriter and costume designer Ester Krumbachová, the film also benefits from a powerful aesthetic contribution by way of cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera. This trio worked together to much acclaim in Chytilová’s previous Sedmikrásky (Daisies, 1966). But this subsequent opus goes even further in terms of storytelling stylisation, oscillating as it does between a detective story and a comedy of manners. Serving as an essay on truth, lies, friendship and betrayal, the film is set in a luxurious guest house, boasting a large garden, and isolated from day-to-day reality. Married couple Eva and Josef are among the guests attempting to enjoy the idling away of time. The bored wife is enamoured by mysterious seducer Robert – before it becomes clear to her that he is actually a serial killer of women. The quick-witted Eva manages to defend herself in the face of the cynical psychopath, talking her way out of a tight spot. Upon returning to her husband, Eva goes back to her conventional co-existence... This movie – a demanding film for the audience – bubbles with philosophical subtexts, and experiments in form and style; it can in fact be read in a multitude of ways. Indeed, the film, produced in 1969, also serves as a circuitous commentary on the suffocating climate of “normalisation” gripping Czechoslovakia after 1968. Entered into competition at Cannes, the cryptic picture merely ended up baffling the jury. We Eat the Fruit of the Trees of Paradise is assisted by the music of Zdeňek Liška, as well as by strongly stylised performances from Jitka Nováková, Karel Novák and Jan Schmid, whom the director brought to the screen from Liberec’s Studio Ypsilon theatre. Věra Chytilová returned to the story of Adam and Eve, albeit unsuccessfully, in Vyhnání z ráje (Expulsion from Paradise, 2001).

Synopsis

In the garden of a pension, Eva and her husband Josef are enjoying a siesta. Here, they meet with the lonesome, mysterious-looking Robert. During play, a key falls out of Robert's pocket. The curious Eva picks it up and sets off on an expedition. In Robert's room, she finds a briefcase soiled with mud, which Robert had forgotten by her parsley patch before, and in it, a date-stamp. Soon afterwards, she learns that another victim of an unknown murderer of women has been found, with a number and date stamped on her forehead. Eva concludes that the murderer must be Robert. Robert reckons that Eva has revealed his identity and tries to kill her several times. Eva confess Josef about her presence in Robert's room, but the husband turns jealous and does not believe his wife's fear of Robert. He even becomes Robert's friend. Robert prepares thoroughly for the next attempt to murder Eva. He takes her to a bar and openly announces his intention to her – for she might reveal him and besides, killing brings him pleasure. Eva's last wish before she dies is to borrow a coat from the murderer, because she is cold. Then, she pulls a gun out of his pocket and shoots Robert dead. Josef returns to the pension and investigates where she has been. They both, however, agree that it would be better not to know anything, forgiving each other everything and going to live happily ever after as they used to live before.

Film online

Cast

Jan Schmid

Robert

Eva Gabrielová

žena v klobouku

Julius Albert

starý muž

Blanka Hušková

mladá dívka

Luděk Sobota

muž s kyticí

Alice Auspergerová

teta

H. Čiháková

blondýna

H. Kocianová

stará dáma

F. Kopecký

muž na pikniku

V. Grunclová

žena

M. Neumayerová

žena

Z. Růžičková

žena

Štefanová

žena

Tomášková

žena

M. Viklerová

žena

P. Hozák

muž

F. Slezák

muž

J. Hanzal

muž

V. Pirunčík

muž

I. Procházka

muž

Dubbing

Josef Somr

hlas Josefa

Jan Klusák

hlas Roberta

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Věra Ženíšková

Assistant Director

Kateřina Reimanová

Shooting Script

Věra Chytilová

Camera Operator

Jiří Pospíšil

Production Designer

Vladimír Labský

Art Director

Ester Krumbachová

Set Designer

Dvořák Josef (výprava), Jaroslav Chytrý, Richard Staněk

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Ladislav Hausdorf

Production Manager

František Milič

Unit Production Manager

Václav Havlík, František Nedvěd

Cooperation

Bohumila Velková, Jitka Šulcová, Aleš Voleman

Music

Music Composed by

Zdeněk Liška

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Ovoce stromů rajských jíme

Singer

sbor (Ovoce stromů rajských jíme)

Production info

Original Title

Ovoce stromů rajských jíme

English Title

We Eat the Fruit of the Trees of Paradise / Fruit of Paradise

Parallel Title

Nous mangeons les fruits des arbres du paradis

Copyright

1969

Production Year

1969

Premiere

31.07.1970

Creative Group

Juráček – Kučera, Pavel Juráček, Jaroslav Kučera

Technical info

Format

35mm , Betacam, DVD, HD

Versions

Czech

Subtitles

English