Snake Poison

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production year

1980—1981

Premiere

19 February 1982

Runtime

84 min

Category

film

Genre

drama, psychological

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Hadí jed

Czech title

Hadí jed

English title

Snake Poison

Working title

Poslední prázdniny

Summary

Alcoholism permeates this psychological drama, created in 1981 by František Vláčil according to a screenplay by Irena Charvátová. The film is bereft of any kind of consoling, optimistic angle to the issue at hand. The story’s protagonist is a girl called Vladka who after her mother’s death decides to seek out her father whom she has never gotten to know. For the naïve 18 year-old student, the worn-out face of driller Jan Veselý embodies hope. The habitual drunkard proves, however, incapable of pulling himself out of his devastated existence… In Vláčil’s sensitive hands this simple story playing out amidst the snowy backdrop of a severe winter becomes a dark testimony to the impossibility of change which, along with an autobiographical undertone, also has an overarching metaphorical meaning bringing the spiritual gloom of the early 1980s nearer. The beautiful black and white photography by cameraman František Uldrich and the exceptionally convincing acting performances of Josef Vinklář and Ilona Svobodová underscore the film’s austere, narrative style.

Synopsis

After her mother dies, eighteen year old Vladka decides to find her father, who had left her mother years ago. Her friend Martin takes her to the village from where her alimony used to be sent. In the local pub Vladka finds out that three workers of the company Geodézie Péa, Old Fogey, and Jan Veselý called Engineer work here at the drilling ring. When all three come to the pub, Vladka joins them and says she has a message for Jan Veselý. But Veselý gets drunk and does not listen to the girl. Next day Vladka comes to her father to the drilling ring and tells him the truth. Jan is first suspicious, but then he tells happily to his pals that his daughter arrived. Vladka moves to her father's caravan and starts to take care of him. She learns from him that, many years ago when her mother got pregnant, he asked her mother to go for an abortion. Her mother refused and she never wanted to see him again. Later, Jan started to drink and did not finish his studies. He promises to Vladka, he will quit drinking, but apparently he is not able to do so. He became a confirmed drunkard. After several disappointments Vladka leaves. After a fight Jan's colleagues abandon him too. He stays alone, just with his dog.

Note

During the filming, the steadicam system (a camera fixed on the cameraman's body) was used for the handheld camera for the first time in Czech film.

Film online

Cast

Ilona Svobodová

studentka Vladimíra Novotná zvaná Vladka

Josef Vinklář

vrtař Jan Veselý zvaný Inženýr, Vladčin otec

Ferdinand Krůta

vrtař zvaný Dědek

Karel Heřmánek

vrtař Péťa

Miriam Kantorková

hostinská Mácová

Josef Žluťák Hrubý

vesnický blázen Tonek zvaný Čapák

Jan Hrušínský

Martin, Vladčin přítel

Renáta Doleželová

pokladní Blanka

Miluše Zoubková

Martinova matka

Miloslav Homola

Martinův otec

Vilemína Nejedlová-Skokanová

poštovní úřednice

Jaroslava Benhartová

teta

Miroslav Grác

strýc

Jaromír Kučera

muž v hospodě

Slávka Hamouzová

žena v hospodě

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Karel Kovář

Assistant Director

Roman Kopřivík

Shooting Script

František Vláčil

Script Editor

Miloslav Vydra

Director of Photography

František Uldrich

Second Unit Photography

Vladimír Smutný

Camera Operator

Jiří Pechar

Production Designer

Jindřich Goetz

Assistent Production Designer

Jaromír Švarc

Set Designer

Ladislav Winkelhöfer, Miroslav Buberle, Pavel Dvorský, Jiří Žák (2)

Costume Designer

Theodor Pištěk ml.

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Assistant Film Editor

Magda Hájková, Helena Lehovcová

Sound Designer

František Fabián

Production Manager

Oldřich Mach

Unit Production Manager

Eva Charvátová, Jiří Ulrich ml.

Unit Production Manager

Vojtěch Panáček, Jana Příkaská

Consultant

Antonín Plachetka

Cooperation

D. Urbanová (klapka), Otta Pšenička (vrchní osvětlovač), Miroslav Jirsa (fotograf), George Pokrovskij (práce se zvířaty)

Music

Music Composed by

Luboš Fišer

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín)

Songs

Mnoga ljeta

Singer sbor

Až tudy pojedeš, zastav se, já ti dám kytičku laskavce

Songwriter lidová píseň
Singer Josef VinklářIlona Svobodová

Production info

Original Title

Hadí jed

Czech Title

Hadí jed

English Title

Snake Poison

Working Title

Poslední prázdniny

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama, psychological

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production Year

1980—1981

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 18 June 1980
start of filming 15 October 1980
technical Screenplay approved 14 November 1980
end of filming 4 June 1981
projection approval 19 June 1981

Premiere

gala premiere 29 October 1981 (kino Blaník, Praha)
premiere 19 February 1982 /suitable for youths/

Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Miroslava Hladkého, Miroslav Hladký (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

84 min

Original length in metres

2 403 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Ceny Svazu českých dramatických umělců za rok 1981

1982
Praha / Czechoslovakia
František Vláčil

Vítěz

Festival: 22. mezinárodní festival neorealistických filmů Avellino

1982
Avellino / Italy
Irena Charvátová

Vítěz

Festival: 33. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´82

1982
63 měst / Czechoslovakia
Ilona Svobodová

Vítěz

Festival: 33. filmový festival pracujících – zima ´82

1982
119 měst / Czechoslovakia