Giant and Skiers

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1980

Production year

1979—1980

Premiere

23 January 1981

Runtime

72 min

Category

film

Genre

children

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Krakonoš a lyžníci

Czech title

Krakonoš a lyžníci

English title

Giant and Skiers

Summary

Seasoned director Věra Plívová-Šimková added another accomplished, hit family movie to her filmography in 1980 with Krakonoš a lyžníci (Giant and Skiers). First-time screenwriter Jana Knitlová provided the experienced maker of films for children and young adults with a narrative that takes place in the Krkonoše Mountains at the start of the 20th century. The main characters in the story, set in romantic, snow-filled exteriors, are siblings Jenda and Matěj Pelč, who illicitly help out at a glassworks. The boys are lifted out of their daily routine by a famous smuggler who escapes the malevolent defenders of official justice – finance officers – using the latest invention from Norway: skies. The man, who for the Krkonoše’s residents embodies rebellion against the injustice of the imperial and royal authorities, transmits his passion for skiing not only to the curious boys but their teachers. However, the hunt for the smuggler is far from over… The whimsical story about how skis arrived in the Krkonoše offers young viewers a playful spectacle packed with humour, poetry and adventure. Social questions linked to the impoverishment of Czech glassmakers do not arise in the poeticised narrative. The charismatic Karel Heřmánek appears in the role of the smuggler, in whom the boy heroes see the only just man in the mountains, Krakonoš. The kind-hearted teacher, who supports patriotic reading among his pupils, was portrayed by Ondřej Havelka. In line with her previous practice, the director cast non-actors, whose natural performances contribute to the authentic atmosphere of the movie as a whole, in the children’s roles. The playful nature of the narrative is reinforced by the music of Petr Hapka. From a difficult shoot in the snow, experienced cinematographer Emil Sirotek succeeded in eliciting a visually compelling tribute to the mountain landscape, which goes through vivid changes in the period between Shrovetide and Easter… Giant and Skiers is justly one of the most popular films for children and young people produced in the 1970s and 1980s.

Synopsis

Matěj and Jenda, two of the eight children of the poor Pelc family in the Giant Mountains, help in a glassworks where the oldest brother Francek works. They hide into a tub not to be seen by supervisors checking on the ban of children labour. They miss the Epiphany carol (songs and treats door-to-door) and all neighbour village boys again on them in all the neighbour houses. On their way home they are passed by a fast moving big man with a large backpack. The boys send the customs officers, who are pursuing the strange man, to the opposite direction. The man then thanks them and rewards them the next day. Based on fairy-tales and legends the boys think the man is Krakonoš (the giant living and ruling in the Giant Mountains). Skis that Krakonoš (a smuggler in reality) uses for his smuggling trips across the frontiers spread quickly about the mountains. Children, their good teacher, and strict revenue officers learn to ski. Vítek, an inn-keeper's son, the Pelč's neighbour, wants to be an exciseman to win love of beautiful Rózička. When he finds out she does not want a man like this, it is too late. He overheard when "Krakonoš" would be carrying contraband from the frontier and he disclosed that to the exciseman supervisor. The smuggler, however, is rescued by a fancy-dress ski parade crowd, as he is favoured by all the village people. The disappointed excise men welcome to have a tasty just-smuggled Breslau burnt-wine.

Note

Actor Václav Lohniský died of a heart attack during the movie making; the introduction of the film presents the shots he had managed to make.

Film online

Cast

Milan Padalík

Jenda Pelč

Jan Kreidl

Matěj, Jendův bratr

Viktor Král

Vítek Trompetr

Vanda Krňanská

Rózička Vichrová

Karel Heřmánek

pašerák-Krakonoš

Jiří Prýmek

vrchní financ

Karel Augusta

hospodský Trompetr, Vítkův otec

Václav Helšus

kolář Vichr, otec Rózičky

Jiří Žák

otec Pelč

Michaela Bendová

matka Pelčová

Václav Lohniský

starší financ

Petr Rýdel

starší financ

Vít Olmer

hrabě Weinach

Jan Kehár

Josífek

Miroslav Vladyka

lesní praktikant

Michal Dymek

Francek, nejstarší syn Pelčových

Marie Horáková

Běta, Franckova žena

Karel Smrž

ochotník

Jan Cmíral

člen komise

Jan Kraus

financ

Luboš Hloušek

financ

Milan Novotný

financ

K. Jurkaninová

kamarádka Rózičky

T. Hrnčíř

Martínek

R. Martan

Vašek

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Zdeněk Troška

Assistant Director

Jan Křížek, Eva Truchlá

Screenstory

Jana Knitlová

Screenplay

Jana Knitlová

Director of Photography

Emil Sirotek

Second Unit Photography

Martin Benoni

Production Designer

Vladimír Labský

Set Designer

Lubomír Kafka, Martin Růžička, Karel Smrž, Jiří Žůček

Costume Designer

Šárka Hejnová

Film Editor

Eva Bobková

Production Manager

Jaroslav Kučera

Unit Production Manager

Milan Futera, Milan Brabec

Unit Production Manager

Roman Smítko, Jan Peterka

Music

Music Composed by

Petr Hapka

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Mario Klemens),

Songs

Krakonoš

Songwriter Petr Hapka
Writer of Lyrics Petr Hapka
Singer Petr Hapka

My tři králové

Singer Milan PadalíkJan Kreidl

Production info

Original Title

Krakonoš a lyžníci

Czech Title

Krakonoš a lyžníci

English Title

Giant and Skiers

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

children

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1980

Production Year

1979—1980

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 18 October 1979
start of filming 4 December 1979
technical Screenplay approved 18 December 1979
end of filming 30 May 1980
projection approval 23 June 1980

Premiere

premiere 23 January 1981

Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Oty Hofmana, Ota Hofman (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

72 min

Original length in metres

2 047 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 21. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1981
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Exhibition: 12. národní přehlídka filmů pro děti Ostrov nad Ohří

1980
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czechoslovakia