I, the Distressing God

narrative

Typology

feature

Czech title

Já truchlivý Bůh

Runtime

83

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1969

Production year

1969

Premiere

17.10.1969

Language version

Czech

Director

Antonín Kachlík

Screenplay

Milan Kundera, Antonín Kachlík

Summary

Milan Kundera’s short story I, the Distressing God from the collection Laughable Loves was adapted twice in the 1960s. In 1967 Jaroslav Horan made a mid-length film of it for the Brno studio based on a screenplay by the novelist’s wife Věra Hrabánková. Just two years later Antonín Kachlík filmed the short story at Barrandov Film Studios from a screenplay he co-wrote with Kundera himself. This led to a relatively faithful adaptation; some passages were identical to the short story, though several new episodes were added to the anecdotal original (in particular concerning the keen-to-marry Mrs. Štenclová, played by Jiřina Jirásková). The same fate was met by the 1965 Hynek Bočan film Nikdo se nebude smát (Nobody Gets the Last Laugh), which was based on the Laughable Loves story of the same title. (Žert [The Joke], a 1968 film rendition of the novel by Jaromil Jireš, represented a third adaption of Kundera). The narrative’s protagonist, ladies’ man Adolf (Miloš Kopecký), decides to punish Janička, a conservatory student who has spurned him. Because the stuck-up young singer has a taste for celebrities, he introduces her to the Greek Apostolek (Pavel Landovský), who pretends to be a composer from Greece. However, revenge is not as sweet as Adolf had hoped: the two fall in love and following Apostolek’s “return home” Janička discovers she is pregnant. The surprised manipulator is unable to tell the truth to the girl, who has decided to be a proud single mother… As in the short story, Adolf is the narrator; in a distancing voiceover he plays with, instructs and mocks the audience… Unlike other adaptations of Kundera, Kachlík’s film leans toward the comedy genre. Both leads are also inclined toward it, with Kopecký and Landovský setting in train a grandiose farce centred around non-actress Jana Lelitová’s cold-blooded and naive Janička (dubbed by Alena Procházková).

Synopsis

Adolf, the irresistible seducer of women, is fond of Janička, a novice opera singer. The girl, however, prefers famous men and Adolf thus does not have a single chance with her. One day in a hospital, he meets a Greek partisan named Apostolek who impresses him with his spontaneity and ease in solving all problems, especially those with women. Adolf has an idea. He makes Apostolek familiar with social manners, dresses him after the latest fashion and introduces him to Janička as a Greek conductor. Janička instantly falls in love with the made-up composer and Apostolek does no better. But Adolf is not satisfied with their love affair - he wanted to have fun and also his revenge on Janička, but failed. He, however, follows his plan closely and makes up Apostolek's return to Greece. Janička finds out she is pregnant. Adolf offers to marry her but Janička rejects him: she decides to be a single mother and maybe also to wait for Apostolek's return. Adolf is jealous and contemplates telling the truth to the girl, but eventually does not. The child is born and Janička proudly walks around with the perambulator. Although Adolf lost Janička, he feels that, due to his joke, he has become an invisible part of her life and that they, in fact, belong together.

Film online

Cast

Pavel Landovský

Řek Apostol Certikidis zvaný Apostolek

Hana Lelitová

studentka konzervatoře Jana Malátová

Jiřina Jirásková

rozvedená paní Štenclová

Ivana Mixová

operní zpěvačka

Květoslava Houdlová

oční lékařka, Adolfova bývalá spolužačka

Jindra Reháková

Certikidisová, Apostolova žena

Pavla Maršálková

Malátová, Janina matka

Zdeněk Kryzánek

Janin otec

Jarmila Gerlová

odmítnutá milenka Jana

Vlastimil Maršíček

tenorista Lambrecht

Jiří Přichystal

operní pěvec

Daniela Pokorná

Janina přítelkyně

Jana Karpašová

Janina přítelkyně

Ilona Jirotková

Janina přítelkyně

Boleslava Svobodová

Růžena

Vladimír Klemens

učitel hudby

Milivoj Uzelac

dirigent

Helena Bendová

domovnice

Karel Hanzlík

baleťák

Jan Víšek

lékař v nemocnici

MUDr. Jestřáb

lékař

Otakar Chaloupka

dirigent mistr Ořechovský-Burský

Antonín Kachlík

operetní režisér Žoužel

Alena Balejová

dívka

Jana Lauferová

dívka

P. Horáková

dívka

J. Kovářová

dívka

Orchestr Brno 60

orchestr

Pavel Nečesal

opilec v automatu

J. Dziodzik

hudebník

K. Šumpik

hudebník

K. Bílý

hudebník

Dubbing

Alena Procházková

hlas Janičky Malátové

Dana Syslová

hlas odmítnuté milenky

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Miroslav Kubišta

Assistant Director

Karel Kovář, Lilian Havlíčková

Based on

Bohumil Hrabal (Já truchlivý Bůh – povídka ze sbírky Směšné lásky)

Shooting Script

Antonín Kachlík

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Nečesal

Camera Operator

M. Kudrna

Production Designer

Milan Nejedlý

Set Designer

Karel Kočí, Jaroslava Vilímková

Sound Designer

Emil Poledník

Production Manager

Petr Čapek

Unit Production Manager

Dana Dudová, Martin Baroch

Unit Production Manager

Lucie Hertlová

Cooperation

Jarmila Kostolná, Anna Mejtská, Ladislava Klusáčková, Jan Sedláček (2)

Music

Music Composed by

Vladimír Sommer

Selected Music

Giuseppe Verdi (opera Rigoletto), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Turecký pochod), Antonín Dvořák (árie Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém z opery Rusalka), Gioacchino Rossini (opera Lazebník sevillský /Il barbiere di Siviglia/)

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

Já truchlivý Bůh

English Title

I, the Distressing God

Copyright

1969

Production Year

1969

Premiere

17.10.1969

Creative Group

Švabík – Procházka, Jan Procházka, Erich Švabík

Technical info

Versions

Czech