Paragraph 224

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1979

Production year

1979

Premiere

20 June 1980

Runtime

80 min

Category

film

Genre

drama

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Paragraf 224

Czech title

Paragraf 224

English title

Paragraph 224

Summary

Director Zdeněk Sirový and screenwriter Jiří Křižan didn’t have an easy time in the “normalisation” period of the 1970s: due to their political beliefs, they had to settle for making only a trio of adventure films for young audiences, inspired by stories of Jack London – Kaňon samé zlato (A Canyon Full of Gold, 1970), Poslední výstřel Davida Sandela (David Sandel’s Last Shot, 1971) and Claim na Hluchém potoku (The Claim at the Deaf Creek, 1971) – and two films set in manufacturing environments – Hrozba (Threat, 1978) and Paragraf 224 (Paragraph 224, 1979) – essentially based on similar ground plans. But despite the minimalist plots, Sirový and Křižan produced some interesting work. Paragraf 224 takes place in a chemical plant, whose head researcher, Plaček (Josef Kemr), is being forced to retire. He is replaced by a younger colleague, Bernát (Alois Švehlík), who is, accused of gross negligence (in relation to the eponymous paragraph) after a fatal accident in his laboratory. Eventually, Bernát’s embittered, older colleague helps him.

Synopsis

Plaček, the head of research in a chemical plant, appreciates the help of his younger colleague Bernát in the creation of a new synthetic material. Before introducing it into production, however, he wants to get purification equipment installed to prevent the countryside around the town, already suffering from pollution, from being devastated any more. Bernát is just completing a burner for this purpose. Plaček's own solution would require another year of development while the management is pressing production to commence as soon as possible. The two previously amicable chemists are now on opposite sides. The embittered Plaček retires and Bernát gets his job. Bernát is a widower with a twelve-year-old son Filip, a promising athlete. One night there is an explosion in the laboratory which injures Bernát and kills the technician Janda. A new neighbour, the attractive potter Věra, starts to look after Filip. When the accident is investigated, Bernát is charged under Paragraph 224 with negligence leading to death. Bernát insists that he told Janda how important it was to clean the pipes with nitrogen before every experiment, but all in vain. Bernát's married mistress Eva definitely heard him warn the technician but refuses to testify. The resentful Plaček is not prepared to say anything to the police either. His friend František, a strong-minded Moravian Wallachian, has gone back to his native region to enjoy its natural beauty, but finds the same signs of devastation as in the Ústí region. He returns and forces Plaček to help Bernát. Bernát is cleared of the charges and there are signs that his relationship with Věra will blossom.

Cast

Alois Švehlík

chemik ing. Štěpán Bernát

Filip Sirový

školák Filip, Bernátův syn

Josef Kemr

ing. Josef Plaček, vedoucí chemického výzkumu

Jaroslav Rozsíval

František Skýpala, Plačkův přítel

Alena Procházková

keramička Věra Staňková, sousedka Bernátových

Hana Čížková

laborantka Eva Pechová, Štěpánova milenka

Jana Viščaková

laborantka Klárka Bártová

Bedřich Prokoš

vrchní Horák

Miroslav Zounar

výrobní náměstek Trojan

Jaroslav Cmíral

ředitel chemičky Dufek

Václav Beránek

ekonomický náměstek Vondra

Jiří Wohanka

JUDr. Hlaváček, podnikový právník

Ladislav Županič

technik Vlasta Janda

Josef Culek

vyšetřovatel, kapitán VB

Libuše Cincibusová

televizní reportérka

Milan Mach

televizní režisér

Petr Přívozník

žák Honda

Ladislav Jelínek

vrátný

Jitka Zelenohorská

úřednice na poště

Oldřich Lukeš

děda Tomáš

Jiří Bartoška

prokurátor

Pavel Zedníček

inženýr na Valašsku

Jan Kuželka

tlustý montér

Jiří Maršálek

ten v klobouku

Roman Mecnarowski

ten v čepici

Miroslav Bezdíček

železniční zřízenec

Antonín Ženčák

staříček

Zbyněk Tikal

Filipův soused

Libuše Vašků

Tonča

Václav Dušek (2)

Hondův otec

Commentary

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Marta Křesinová

Script Supervisor

Irena Klausová

Screenplay

Jiří Křižan

Shooting Script

Zdenek Sirový

Script Editor

Josef Bouček

Director of Photography

Jiří Macák

Second Unit Photography

Stanislav Kautský

Camera Operator

Jan Hanzal

Production Designer

Jindřich Goetz

Assistent Production Designer

Jaromír Švarc

Art Director

Jindra Viková

Costume Designer

Zdena Kadrnožková

Film Editor

Zdeněk Stehlík

Sound Designer

Dobroslav Šrámek

Production Manager

Miloš Stejskal

Unit Production Manager

Pavel Mangl, Milan Brabec

Unit Production Manager

Luboš Kozák

Consultant

JUDr. Michal Sonntag, Ing. Valdemar Hrotek, Vladimír Tikal

Cooperation

Jitka Tošilová (klapka), Jaroslav Trousil (fotograf), Spolek pro chemickou a hutní výrobu Ústí nad Labem, Erika Vojáčková, Anna Mejtská

Music

Music Composed by

Petr Hapka

Selected Music

Leoš Janáček (Lašské tance /Starodávný/)

Music Performed by

Petr Hapka, Studiový orchestr (Music Conducted by František Belfín)

Production info

Original Title

Paragraf 224

Czech Title

Paragraf 224

English Title

Paragraph 224

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1979

Production Year

1979

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 5 February 1979
start of filming 11 May 1979
technical Screenplay approved 5 June 1979
end of filming 16 November 1979
projection approval 27 November 1979

Premiere

premiere 20 June 1980

Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Vladimíra Kaliny, Vladimír Kalina (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

80 min

Original length in metres

2 298 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,66, 1:2,35

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech