The Big Wish

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production year

1981

Premiere

30 October 1981

Runtime

88 min

Category

film

Genre

narrative

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Velké přání

Czech title

Velké přání

English title

The Big Wish

Summary

This 1981 story of a young rural teacher, directed by Vojtěch Trapl, is one of the most famous examples of 1980s “normalisation” era filmmaking. Trapl, a true functionary, exclusively geared his career towards producing stories espousing the virtues of the communist regime. His output includes Tobě hrana zvonit nebude (The Bell Will Not Toll for You, 1975) and Vítězný lid (The Victorious People, 1977). Velké přání, a final effort from Trapl, tells the story of teacher Jan Poncar, who undertakes the difficult task of trying to teach a group of sixth-graders in his native south Bohemian village of Doubravice. In the end, Poncar succeeds in engendering a thirst for knowledge in his pupils, convincing them to partake in special activity groups. His grateful pupils in turn support the teacher when he is accused of having paid insufficient attention at a point when somebody tossed a tomahawk in the school playground. The lesser-known actor František Skřípek takes the lead role.

Synopsis

Jan Poncar leaves Prague to teach in his native Southern Bohemia. He is driven to the village of Doubravice by his girlfriend Eva. But the mondaine girl does not want to live in the village and the couple breaks up. The headmaster Karpíšek welcomes the fact that the female staff will finally be added to with a man. Pupils of the sixth grade which Karel takes over are unruly and have a great lack of knowledge, which is soon proved by a dictation. The inexperienced teacher, however, does not really manage the first lesson. The children bang into their desks with the first merest pretence. There are distinct personalities in the class: the impudent Pepík, the assiduous Anička Lebedová, the moody Ivo Strnad and the sensitive and intelligent TomᚠKalous. The last-named lives alone with his mother, Poncar's colleague Marie. The teacher finds a way to get rid of the pupils' banging - he joins the vociferating kids himself. He suggests they establish a scoring system to assess fulfilling tasks, initiative and independent thinking. He fulfills the winners' wishes, takes the children to the countryside and teaches them to employ their acquired knowledge. He gradually wins their favour. Only Ivo relies on his mother, the chairman of the parents' association, who blames the teacher for the worsened school results. The female teachers are largely jealous of Poncar's increasing popularity. They are all mothers of families and have no time to tend to the pupils in their leisure time, while the teacher heads several interest clubs. An emotional relation begins between Jan and Marie but Tomᚠlongs for his father's return. Eva regrets their breakup; she has, however, lost Jan definitely. The boys throw a tomahawk in the school playground under Jan's supervision. But Jan's attention is diverted by a colleague and Tomᚠunfortunately wounds Ivo who ridiculed him that his father will never come back. An investigation begins and Strnadová wants exemplary punishment. The colleague's testimony and Ivo's confession help the teacher. Also the school caretaker Král stands on his side, claiming that Poncar would make even comrade John Amos Comenius happy.

Cast

František Skřípek

učitel Jan Poncar

Vladimír Ráž

ředitel školy Karpíšek

Elena Strupková

učitelka Marie Kalousová

Alena Konopíková

učitelka Jitka Zelená

Dana Homolová

Eva, Poncarova přítelkyně

Alena Karešová

učitelka Bezděková

Libuše Jiskrová

předsedkyně SRPŠ Magda Strnadová

Rudolf Leitner

Strnad, manžel Magdy

Vladimír Pospíšil

školník Král

Antonín Hardt

předseda JZD Karas

Monika Pošívalová

Anna Makovská, Poncarova bytná

Renáta Doleželová

učitelka Květa Roubíková

Eva Kubíková

učitelka Hrachovcová

Taťána Duchoňová

učitelka Kosinová

Zdena Burdová

učitelka Burdová

Eva Vojtová

Podsíňská, matka Pepíka

Daniela Vacková

učitelka Jana Malá

Olga Novotná

učitelka Nováková

Dagmar Krausová

učitelka Vágnerová

Renée Nachtigallová

učitelka Havlíková

Jitka Zelenohorská

učitelka Hubáčková

Tomáš Polák

Tomáš, syn Kalousové

Vlaďka Běhalová

Boženka, dcera Kalousové

Kateřina Romová

Anička Lebedová

Vít Běhal

Pepík Podsíňský

Vladimír Dohnal

Ivo Strnad

Ondřej Polák

Ondra

Tomáš Šejda

Martin

Petr Střelka

Petr

Šárka Raková

Šárka

Milan Havliš

Jirka

Vladan Kříž

Vladan

René Šteflík

Franta

M. Lebedová

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Vítězslav Kulle

Assistant Director

Kryštof Hanzlík

Script Supervisor

Eva Kubesová

Screenstory

Vojtěch Trapl

Screenplay

Vojtěch Trapl

Shooting Script

Vojtěch Trapl

Director of Photography

Antonín Holub

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Dosoudil

Camera Operator

Emil Hora

Production Designer

Jaroslav Krška

Assistent Production Designer

Ludvík Široký

Set Designer

Karel Kracík, Jaroslav Lehman, Miloš Sršeň

Costume Designer

Margita Marcolová

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Josef Vlček

Production Manager

Miroslav Smrček

Unit Production Manager

Viktor Schwarcz, Hana Jarošová

Unit Production Manager

Luděk Blažek

Consultant

Karel Čepička, Pavel Auersperg

Cooperation

Hana Vítková (klapka), Zdeněk Dukát (fotograf), ZDŠ Krč, Magda Hájková, MNV Vlachovo Březí, Dalibor Lipský, ONV Prachatice

Music

Music Composed by

Otmar Mácha

Selected Music

Bedřich Smetana (Má vlast /Tábor/), Ludwig van Beethoven (Symfonie č. 6 F dur /4. věta Nečas a bouřka/), Antonín Dvořák (Kvarteto F dur /1. věta/)

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín)

Songs

Naše tango

Songwriter Jan Frýda

Víte-li pak, jak sedláček

Songwriter lidová píseň
Singer Vlaďka Běhalová

Ktož jsú boží bojovníci

Singer sbor

Nes mě loďko /z televizní pohádky Zlatovláska/

Songwriter Angelo Michajlov
Writer of Lyrics Eduard Krečmar
Singer dívčí sbor

Kukačka kuká, holoubek vrká

Songwriter lidová píseň
Singer dětský sbor

Production info

Original Title

Velké přání

Czech Title

Velké přání

English Title

The Big Wish

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

narrative

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production Year

1981

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 15 January 1981
start of filming 29 January 1981
technical Screenplay approved 16 February 1981
start of filming 17 June 1981
projection approval 2 July 1981

Premiere

premiere 30 October 1981

Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Karla Valtery, Karel Valtera (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

88 min

Original length in metres

2 521 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