The Nurses

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1983

Production year

1983

Premiere

1 March 1984

Runtime

85 min

Category

film

Genre

psychological

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Sestřičky

Czech title

Sestřičky

English title

The Nurses

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

Dubbing Zuzana Bydžovská
zdravotní sestra Míková

Alena Karešová

vrchní sestra

Pavlína Mourková

Zuzka Ferenčíková

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

Karel Engel

zraněný dřevorubec Fišera

Z. Reinochová

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Miroslav Balajka

Assistant Director

Zdeněk Tyc

Based on

Adolf Branald (Vizita – román)

Dramaturg

Miroslav Vaic

Director of Photography

Jan Čuřík

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Nečesal

Camera Operator

Jan Carda

Production Designer

Jindřich Goetz

Assistent Production Designer

Olga Rosenfelderová

Set Designer

Zdeněk Jeřábek, Rudolf Kinský, Stanislav Krejča, Jiří Vadroň

Costume Designer

Běla Suchá

Film Editor

Jiří Brožek

Assistant Film Editor

Věra Flaková, Eva Horázná

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

Cooperation

Renata Stádníková (klapka), Jiří Kučera (fotograf), Jaroslav Trousil (fotograf)

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)

Songs

Tadá, tada, tada

Singer Ondřej Vetchý [dab]Karel Zich

Potkal jsem jelena

Songwriter Jiří Šlitr
Writer of Lyrics Miroslav Horníček
Singer Miloslav ŠtibichAlena Mihulová

Lásko, bože, lásko

Singer Jiří Růžička

Líbám, ženy, vás tak rád

Songwriter Franz Lehár
Writer of Lyrics Emanuel Brožík
Singer Alena Mihulová

Neťukej, neťukej

Singer Ondřej Vetchý

Production info

Original Title

Sestřičky

Czech Title

Sestřičky

English Title

The Nurses

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

psychological

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1983

Production Year

1983

Premiere

premiere 1 March 1984 /unsuitable for youths/

Creative Group

1. dramaturgicko-výrobní skupina, Jiří Blažek (vedoucí 1. dramaturgicko-výrobní skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

85 min

Original length in metres

2 429 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 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: 11. mezinárodní festival zdravotnických filmů a filmů Červeného kříže Varna

1985
Varna / Bulgaria

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

Vítěz

Festival: 11. festival zdravotnických filmů Podbořany

1984
Podbořany / Czechoslovakia