Why Not Believe in Miracles?

narrative, tragicomedy

Typology

feature

Czech title

Proč nevěřit na zázraky

Runtime

85

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1977

Production year

1977

Premiere

21.04.1978

Language version

Czech

Director

Antonín Máša

Screenplay

Antonín Máša

Screenstory

Antonín Máša

Summary

War as seen through a child’s eyes is a perspective that was often applied successfully in Czechoslovak cinematography. Director and screenwriter Antonín Máša took this path when in 1977 he filmed a drama based on his own ideas. Proč nevěřit na zázraky (Why Not Believe in Miracles?) takes place at the end of the Second World War in Southern Bohemia. The protagonist of the tale is 12-year old village boy Milda (Igor Nachtigal), who still kind of believes that his white goat Brůna will one day change into a horse. And he clings to this naïve wish throughout dramatic encounters with the SS and Russian cavalry officers…. During the years of “normalisation”, the films of the politically “unreliable” Máša – who was fired from Prague’s Barrandov film studios in 1971 – were realised only sporadically and under strict supervision. The original version of this film, which was heavily censored, never appeared in the cinemas. The biggest demanded change related to the ending in which the small hero was shot.

Synopsis

It is the spring of 1945 and the end of the war is approaching. The twelve-year-old Milda Mráz, the son of a poor cobbler Mráz from Nepřejov, still believes a little in miracles. That is why he drags everywhere his white she-goat Brůna which may one day change into a long-desired white horse. Even the promise of the miserly neighbour Petrus that after the war he will arrange a banquet for all the people stands for the evidence of the existence of miracles. Pavel Mácha, who escaped some time ago from forced labour in Nazi Germany, ends hiding and, what is more, his love Vlasta is with child. The villagers, encouraged by news of Prague uprising, are building the triumphal arch to welcome the Red Army. But Pavel is brought home dead in a hay-wagon, after he and other youths wanted to capture arms. The number of the soldiers of the Nazi SS army in a countryside is increasing. They loot the houses desiring to gain civilian clothing. Heading the military column there comes to the village the one-handed Major of the Nazi SS army and takes the villagers hostage. He wants to know who had fired at the soldiers. Eventually Milda does not succeed in protecting Brůna. He is crying and while flying from the German soldiers he meets the Russian cavalry. They make him a present of a white horse. The proud boy is riding to the village. Thus he prevents the villagers from the execution because the German soldiers suppose the Russians are coming and in terror they take to flight. Between the settlement Slivice and the village Milín the Second World War in Europe ended only 12th May 1945.

Note

There is a longer copy in which the story ends tragically – Milda is shot dead by a major SS without anybody noticing his crime. This copy is stored in the NFA. For the distribution the film has been shortened by the director.

Cast

Igor Nachtigal

Milda Mráz

Václav Babka

švec Josef Mráz, Mildův otec

Jiřina Třebická

Mrázova žena, Mildova matka

Josef Kemr

dědeček Mráz

Lenka Kořínková

Anča, dcera Mrázových

Přemysl Houžvička

Pepa, nejmladší syn Mrázových

Roman Čada

Láďa, nejstarší syn Mrázových

Josef Somr

sedlák Petrus

Vítězslav Jandák

Pavel Mácha

Libuše Havelková

Pavlova matka

Jiří Hálek

starosta Drtikol

František Husák

lakýrník Eman

Josef Bek

Hodys

Raoul Schránil

řídící učitel

Jiří Lábus

Véna, syn řídícího

Jaroslava Schallerová

Vlasta, Pavlova dívka

Jan Hartl

Suchý, Pavlův kamarád

Erik Pardus

Kajda, Pavlův kamarád

Slávka Hamouzová

majitelka kozla

Martin Štěpánek

hospodář

Jan Teplý

německý důstojník

Jiří Zahajský

Hans, německý důstojník

Ondřej Havelka

německý voják

Tomáš Sedláček

německý voják

Jiří Schmitzer

německý voják

Antonín Procházka

německý voják

Ivan Richter

německý voják

David Vejražka

německý voják

Václav Vydra

německý voják

Věra Tichánková

děvečka u Petruse

Jana Vychodilová

děvečka u Petruse

Jindra Janoušková

kamarádka Vlasty

Petr Štěpánek

Lukšan, Pavlův kamarád

Václav Kotva

vesničan

Karel Augusta

vesničan

Josef A. Stehlík

stařík na trakaři

Karel Vlček

vesničan

Antonín Hübner

vesničan

Libuše Matějová

vesničanka

Věra Laňková

vesničanka

Tomáš Dolínek

Martin Chaluš

Pavol Moskalik

Štefan Semanco

M. Klemová

R. Alexová

Ivan Stropkovský

D. Tenčl

T. Vrzal

Dubbing

Jana Šulcová

hlas Vlasty

Jan Hrušínský

hlas Suchého

Jindřich Narenta

hlas německého vojáka

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Zdenek Zaoral

Assistant Director

Zdeňka Stiborová

Screenstory

Antonín Máša

Screenplay

Antonín Máša

Script Editor

Jaroslav Petřík

Second Unit Photography

Richard Valenta

Production Designer

Jan Oliva

Set Designer

Eva Slívová

Costume Designer

Jan Kropáček

Make-Up Artist

Jiří Hurych

Sound Designer

František Fabián

Production Manager

Zdeněk Stibor

Unit Production Manager

Věra Kopecká

Cooperation

Jihočeský KV KSČ, OV KSČ v Písku, OV KSČ v Táboře, Lidové milice, Boris Halmi

Music

Music Composed by

Svatopluk Havelka

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Lásko, bože, lásko, Zelení hájové, Kolíne, Kolíne, Hej, Slované, Co ten ptáček, jarabáček, Šly panenky silnicí

Songwriter

František Kmoch (Kolíne, Kolíne), lidová slovenská píseň (Hej, Slované), František Kmoch (Co ten ptáček, jarabáček)

Writer of Lyrics

Samo Tomášik (Hej, Slované)

Singer

dívčí sbor (Zelení hájové), Josef Bek (Hej, Slované), sbor (Hej, Slované), Martin Štěpánek (Šly panenky silnicí)

Production info

Original Title

Proč nevěřit na zázraky

English Title

Why Not Believe in Miracles?

Copyright

1977

Production Year

1977

Premiere

21.04.1978

Technical info

Format

35mm

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 18. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1978
Zlín / Czechoslovakia