The Nurses

narrative

Typology

feature

Czech title

Sestřičky

Runtime

85

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1983

Production year

1983

Premiere

01.03.1984

Language version

Czech

Director

Karel Kachyňa

Screenplay

Vladimír Bor, Karel Kachyňa

Summary

During the 1980s, noted director Karel Kachyňa made two hospital-themed films based on the novel Vizita (Visitation, 1967) by author Adolf Branald: tragicomedy Pozor, vizita! (Watch Out, the Doctor Is on His Round!, 1981) and Sestřičky (The Nurses, 1983). The first film, set in the early 1960s, tells the story of a wandering bachelor, unable to withstand being in mandatory hospital isolation. This second film is set during the 1950s, with a young nurse serving as the lead character. Marie Sahulová is punished for an ethical failing – seeking a relationship with hospital patient Petr – and ends up being sent to a rural health centre. An older colleague, nicknamed “Babi”, ends up providing some much-needed support. While nurse Marie has a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings, she proves adept at managing the heavy workload, and begins to be viewed as indispensable by her colleagues. These include the tough, but understanding Babi, ambulance driver Arnošt, and an older doctor GP, with whom the nurse does the rounds of nearby villages and isolated residences. Marie finds maturity and internal stability via a relationship with Petr, a wannabe singer… Director Karel Kachyňa focuses on the difficult lives of 1950s women, as related in Branald’s literary work, in which attempts at emancipation in both the personal and private spheres often meet a hostile reception. But the determined Marie is provided with an opportunity out in the countryside to build her own life anew, interacting with various life “cases” on the way. Seventeen-year-old non-actress Alena Mihulová plays the protagonist. Mihulová went on to become a life partner to director Kachyňa, eleven years her senior, and would appear in four more of his films: Dobré světlo (A Good Light, 1984); Smrt krásných srnců (Death of the Beautiful Deer, 1986); Městem chodí Mikuláš (St. Nicholas Is in Town, 1992); and Kráva (The Cow, 1992). The talented first-time actress benefits from being able to play off Jiřina Jirásková, cast as the wise and distinctive Babi.

Synopsis

The very young nurse Marie is punished by being transferred from a town hospital to a village health centre. The reason was her love for a patient, Petr, with whom she wanted to spend her first night of love in the nurses' home. The health centre is responsible for a large district and Marie must thus start work immediately. She stays with an elderly nurse called Grandma by everybody. Marie meets Petr who works at a stud farm but is planning to be a singer with a rock group. Marie wants to resign from her job but the ambulance driver Arnošt comes to pick her up to treat an injured woodcutter in a forest. The senior consultant Ševít is surprised how professionally Marie dealt with her first independent case. The nurse stays on in the village and gradually even gets close to Grandma who treats the patients a bit harshly but always with deep knowledge and restrained understanding. She mainly protects pregnant women and children whose life in the village is far from easy. Marie receives her own "beat", and she and Grandma soon help deliver her first newborn. Petr failed in his singing career and returns to the stud farm. Grandma and Marie discover a seventeen-year old, called Zuzka, at a village farm. The girl got pregnant by her old relative and the two women take care of her. Petr again woos Marie and offers to marry her. They spend a night in Grandma's house. The girl then tells Grandma about her first love experience and is surprised to hear that Grandma was never actually in a love relationship. Soon after, Marie and Arnošt are driving Zuzka to the maternity hospital but do not make it there, and Marie must help the young mother deliver her child in the ambulance. Everything turns out well and the girl even receives appreciation from the senior consultant. At home, she talks to Grandma and plans her future with Petr. Someone knocks on the window, maybe needing Marie's help.

Note

The opening title reads that the story takes place during the 1950s but the film includes anachronisms from this point: the local cinema display window announces the screening of a 1962 Polish movie, the song I´ve Met a Deer is from the much later theatre Semafor etc.

Film online

Cast

Alena Mihulová

zdravotní sestra Marie Sahulová

Jiřina Jirásková

zdravotní sestra zvaná babi

Ondřej Vetchý

ošetřovatel koní Petr

Oldřich Vízner

saniťák Arnošt

Jiří Růžička

hajný Krákora

Otto Lackovič

správce statku Revéš

Bořivoj Navrátil

primář Ševít

Miroslava Vydrová

zdravotní sestra Míková

Alena Karešová

vrchní sestra

Pavlína Mourková

Zuzka Ferenčíková

Josef Vondráček

Mariin otec

Gabriela Wilhelmová

Mariina matka

Jaroslava Brousková

staniční sestra

Jan Cmíral

okresní zdravotník

Roman Skamene

řidič pohřebního vozu

Jiří Žák

kočí Frýbort

Jaroslav Heyduk

hlídač v internátu

Zuzana Talpová

Voldřichová, Zuzčina teta

Michal Roneš

sekundář

Martina Samková

Pechlátová

Rudolf Kinský

hospodský Venda Brabenec

Jiří Kraus

hospodský kluk

Olga Karásková (2)

žena hajného

Edita Dindělová

zdravotní sestřička

Vladimír Hlavatý

starý muž

Karel Engel

zraněný Fišera

Z. Reinochová

Dubbing

Zuzana Bydžovská

hlas Míkové

Robert Vrchota

hlas dědka

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Miroslav Balajka

Assistant Director

Zdeněk Tyc, Anna Lackovičová

Based on

Adolf Branald (Vizita – román)

Script Editor

Miroslav Vaic

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Nečesal

Camera Operator

Jan Carda

Production Designer

Jindřich Goetz

Set Designer

Zdeněk Jeřábek, Rudolf Kinský, Stanislav Krejča, Jiří Vadroň

Costume Designer

Běla Suchá

Film Editor

Jiří Brožek

Sound Designer

Pavel Jelínek

Production Manager

Oldřich Mach

Unit Production Manager

Iva Šetková, Tomáš Baloun

Unit Production Manager

Vojtěch Panáček, Luboš Kozák

Consultant

MUDr. Josef Jonáš

Music

Music Composed by

Luboš Fišer

Selected Music

Franz Lehár (Paganini /Líbám, ženy, vás tak rád/)

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Tadá, tada, tada, Potkal jsem jelena, Lásko, bože, lásko, Líbám, ženy, vás tak rád, Neťukej, neťukej

Songwriter

Jiří Šlitr (Potkal jsem jelena), Franz Lehár (Líbám, ženy, vás tak rád)

Writer of Lyrics

Miroslav Horníček (Potkal jsem jelena), Emanuel Brožík (Líbám, ženy, vás tak rád)

Singer

Ondřej Vetchý [dab] (Tadá, tada, tada), Karel Zich (Tadá, tada, tada), Miloslav Štibich (Potkal jsem jelena), Alena Mihulová (Potkal jsem jelena), Jiří Růžička ml. (Lásko, bože, lásko), Alena Mihulová (Líbám, ženy, vás tak rád), Ondřej Vetchý (Neťukej, neťukej)

Production info

Original Title

Sestřičky

English Title

The Nurses

Copyright

1983

Production Year

1983

Premiere

01.03.1984

Creative Group

Jiří Blažek

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 11. mezinárodní festival zdravotnických filmů a filmů Červeného kříže Varna

1985
Varna / Bulgaria

Vítěz

Festival: 11. festival zdravotnických filmů Podbořany

1984
Podbořany / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 22. festival československých filmů Banská Bystrica

1984
Banská Bystrica / Czechoslovakia
Luboš Fišer

Vítěz

Festival: 11. festival zdravotnických filmů Podbořany

1984
Podbořany / Czechoslovakia
Alena Mihulová