Greeting to the Swallows

drama, biography

Typology

feature

Czech title

...a pozdravuji vlaštovky

Runtime

88

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1972

Production year

1972

Premiere

26.05.1972

Language version

Czech

Director

Jaromil Jireš

Screenplay

Jaromil Jireš, Zora Beráková

Screenstory

Jaromil Jireš

Summary

This intimate drama from Jaromil Jireš acquaints us with the personality of Marie Kudeříková (1921–1943), a communist resistance fighter who was executed by the Nazis in March 1943, when she was just 22 years of age. The story describes the last 99 days of Marie’s life spent on death row in a jail in the Polish city of Wroclaw. In a series of flashbacks, the reasons why the heroine has been condemned are presented along with the events that resulted in her joining the resistance. A first great flush of emotion, opposition to the occupation, and the passivity of those around her all led an ordinary girl from a rural Catholic family to embark on a path full of danger that would end tragically. Although ...a pozdravuji vlaštovky (Greetings to the Swallows) was released in 1972, the style and form of the story puts it in the same company as Jireš’s earlier work linked with the Czechoslovak New Wave, especially the director’s drama Žert (The Joke) from 1968. The screenplay for the film was written in the 1960s and it is therefore no wonder that, instead of a portrait of a communist icon, it offers the poetic and sensitive story of a girl on the threshold of death who comes to terms with her fate. Together with his co-screenwriter Zora Beráková, Jireš based the script on Zlomky života (Fragments of a Life) – a posthumous collection of letters home that Marie Kudeříková wrote in prison. Thanks to their civic-minded and authentic approach to the material, the writers managed to avoid taking a simplistic ideological view. The film, therefore, remains a rare example of a movie from the “normalisation” era of Soviet entrenchment after the Warsaw Pact invasion which managed in a heavily censored environment to maintain contact with the best traditions of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Jireš’s favourite collaborators – the cinematographer Jan Čuřík and the composer Luboš Fišer – played their part in ensuring the film was a success. The actress Magda Vášáryová gave a remarkable performance in the lead role.

Synopsis

Towards the end of 1942 a young prisoner Maruška awaits in her cell in prison in Breslau (after war Polish Wrocław) her execution. After death sentence it was ninety nine days of grace of life that were granted to prisoners by the Nazis, a period during which the prisoners were put to work. Maruška paints the eyes of the plaster tin soldiers by a thin brush and thus she takes the opportunity to put down secretly the fragments of her memories, thoughts and expectations. She hopes she will manage to smuggle these "scraps", as she calls them, to her close friends and family. In retrospect there are returning the girl's experiences. Strict but loving parents, younger brother and sister. Her beloved Julek who first suggested the idea of the resistance movement against the Nazis to her but ultimately he recoiled from danger and did not venture anything. After leaving examination Maruška started working in a factory in Veverská Bitýška. The regular commuting by train enabled her to be an orderly of resistance fighters. However, the illegal activity was disclosed and most of members of the group were arrested. Despite the cruel interrogatory Maruška did not betray anybody. Eventually, Maruška is sentenced to death. The girl refuses to return to the belief in God though her mother is urging her to do it. Maruška's defence lawyer, she herself and her parents ask for pardon. After expiring the time limit of the execution the girl starts hoping. Her father at his visit tells her that the Red Army opened up the counter-offensive. But pardon is refused and two days after her twenty-second birthday Maruška Kudeříková is executed (*24. 3. 1921 +26. 3. 1943).

Cast

Magda Vášáryová

Maruška Kudeříková

Viera Strnisková

Maruščina matka

Július Vašek

Josef Kudeřík, Maruščin otec

Dagmar Bláhová

vězeňkyně Julinka

Hana Pastejříková

vězeňkyně Jarka

Hana Maciuchová

vězeňkyně Vítězka

Jana Andresíková

vězeňkyně Frieda

Alžběta Frejková

dozorkyně Sternetzská

Zora Rozsypalová

dozorkyně Nau

Valerie Kaplanová

dozorkyně Erna

Gisela Fojtů

dozorkyně

Jozef Čierny

učitel

Dušan Blaškovič

tlustý financ

Leoš Kaltofen

tenký financ/odsouzený

Jan Ekl

Rudolf

Miroslav Kolář

mladý odbojář

Zdeněk Kampf

tlumočník s jednou rukou

Helena Nováčková

žena s hřebenem

Eva Jiroušková

vězeňkyně zvaná Lili Marleen

Daniela Šrajerová

dělnice Anička

Milica Kolofíková

polská vězeňkyně Wanda

Jiří Prýmek

komisař gestapa Dorsch

Oto Ševčík

Dorschův tlumočník

Karel Šebesta

komisař Friedrich

Miroslav Moravec

tlumočník Nerger

Eduard Rzimek

obhájce JUDr. Jescheck

Anna Ferencová

bachařka ve vězení

Ladislav Trojan

odbojář

Slávka Špánková

vězeňkyně Jiřina

Jana Riháková

Bětuška, Maruščina sestra

Zdeněk Srstka

gestapák

Karel Sekera

gestapák

Karel Engel

vyslýchající

Emil Lenz

úředník

Alois Mottl

německý civil

Jan Rott

obhájce

Milena Šajdková

vězeňkyně

Zuzana Talpová

vězeňkyně

Luděk Svoboda

mladý příslušník SS

H. Staub

mladý strážce

Lubomír Polách

přísedící

R. Tesař

přísedící

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Claudi Niubo

Assistant Director

Anna Lackovičová, Miroslav Voštiar

Screenstory

Jaromil Jireš

Based on

Marie Kudeříková (Zlomky života – kniha)

Shooting Script

Jaromil Jireš

Script Editor

Danuše Špirková

Second Unit Photography

Oldřich Hubáček

Production Designer

Jan Oliva

Set Designer

Jiří Cvrček, Bohumil Kadlec

Costume Designer

Svatava Sophová

Film Editor

Josef Valušiak

Sound Designer

Emil Poledník

Production Manager

Věra Kadlecová

Unit Production Manager

Václav Havlík, Olga Mimrová

Unit Production Manager

Jaroslava Pražská

Consultant

Jaromíra Kryslová

Cooperation

Jindřiška Novotná, Jan Kuděla, Milada Malínská, Václav Hlávka

Music

Music Composed by

Luboš Fišer

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Milivoj Uzelac (FISYO)

Songs

Hej, Slované, Es geht alles vorüber, Sám s děvčetem v dešti, Tichá noc /Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht/, Studená rosenka té noci padala, Kameňu, kameňu, Zaleť, sokol, bílý pták, Čí že jsi šuhajko jak ruža, Noční motýl, Kosí fox

Songwriter

lidová slovenská píseň (Hej, Slované), Friedrich Raimund Vesely (Es geht alles vorüber), Kamil Běhounek (Sám s děvčetem v dešti), Franz Xaver Gruber (Tichá noc /Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht/), Johann Strauss ml. (Noční motýl), Josef Stelibský (Kosí fox)

Writer of Lyrics

Samo Tomášik (Hej, Slované), Max Wallner (Es geht alles vorüber), Kurt Feltz (Es geht alles vorüber), Karel Kozel (Sám s děvčetem v dešti), Joseph Mohr (Tichá noc /Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht/), K. M. Walló (Noční motýl), Karel Melíšek (Kosí fox), Jaroslav Mottl (Kosí fox)

Singer

Július Vašek (Hej, Slované), Jana Andresíková (Es geht alles vorüber), R. A. Dvorský (Sám s děvčetem v dešti), sbor (Tichá noc /Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht/), ženský sbor (Studená rosenka té noci padala), ženský sbor (Kameňu, kameňu), Magda Vášáryová (Zaleť, sokol, bílý pták), Magda Vášáryová (Čí že jsi šuhajko jak ruža), Dagmar Bláhová (Čí že jsi šuhajko jak ruža), Slávka Špánková (Noční motýl), Dagmar Bláhová (Kosí fox), Magda Vášáryová (Kosí fox)

Production info

Original Title

...a pozdravuji vlaštovky

English Title

Greeting to the Swallows

Working Title

Maruška / Maruška Kudeříková / Země na druhém břehu

Copyright

1972

Production Year

1972

Premiere

26.05.1972

Technical info

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 11. festival českých a slovenských filmů Plzeň

1973
Plzeň / Czechoslovakia
Magda Vášáryová

Vítěz

Event: 10. mezinárodní setkání filmů pro mládež Cannes

1973
Cannes / France

Vítěz

Event: Múzy pražských diváků

1973
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Magda Vášáryová

Vítěz

Exhibition: 13. přehlídka avantgardních neorealistických filmů Avellino

1972
Avellino / Italy
Magda Vášáryová

Vítěz

Festival: 12. festival filmů pro děti a mládež Gottwaldov

1972
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 18. mezinárodní filmový festival Karlovy Vary

1972
Karlovy Vary / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 25. mezinárodní filmový festival Locarno

1972
Locarno / Switzerland
Jaromil Jireš

Vítěz

Festival: 12. festival filmů pro děti a mládež Gottwaldov

1972
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Exhibition: 13. přehlídka avantgardních neorealistických filmů Avellino

1972
Avellino / Italy
Jaromil Jireš

Vítěz

Festival: 12. festival filmů pro děti a mládež Gottwaldov

1972
Zlín / Czechoslovakia