Grandmothers Get Boosted

comedy, sci-fi, black comedy

Typology

feature

Czech title

„Babičky dobíjejte přesně!“

Runtime

82

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1983

Production year

1983

Premiere

01.07.1984

Language version

Czech

Director

Ladislav Rychman

Screenplay

Jiří Just, Ladislav Rychman

Screenstory

Zdeněk Hřebík, Jiří Just, Ladislav Rychman

Summary

The director Ladislav Rychman became famous in the 1960s for ambitious genre-based projects (the musicals Starci na chmelu [Hop-Pickers], Dáma na kolejích [Lady on the Tracks] and the whodunit Zločin v dívčí škole [The Crime at the Girl’s School]). The “normalisation” era of Soviet entrenchment after the Warsaw Pact invasion became a complicated period for the aging filmmaker. The 1983 comedy “Babičky dobíjejte přesně!” (Grandmothers Get Boosted) represents the director’s interesting dalliance with the sci-fi genre. In this tale, inspired by a Zdeněk Hřebík short story, Rychman and his fellow screenwriter, writer, and columnist Jiří Just, play on the absurd theme of a domestic robot who has been programmed to have the utmost love for “her” family. At the same time, with exaggerated dark humour, it reflects on the “caregiving” role that normalisation society assigned to senior citizens. In the film, working women cannot manage their domestic duties, so the Biotex company comes up with a revolutionary way of improving their situation: electronic grandmothers. After much hesitation, the fiercely conscientious Róza 350 GLS model is acquired by the Louda household, but she soon causes problems for her owners. Moreover, an open war of attrition breaks out between her and the neighbour’s robotic helper, Carmen, which ends up threatening the lives of the children… The classic story also satirises the dismal relations between the neighbours, who are capable of ruthlessly harming each other for the benefit of their own affluence. Although this bizarrely conceived film remains a curiosity among viewers from the post-1989 generation who are familiar with international sci-fi productions, it has still acquired a certain cult status. The experienced actresses Libuše Havelková and Jana Dítětová make good use of their sense of humour as the ominously benevolent, murderously hostile robots. The theme of a scary robot caregiver had already appeared in Czech cinema in Jiří Trnka’s short puppet film Kybernetická babička (The Cybernetic Grandma, 1962), but it favoured a passionate, humanistic approach over satirical exaggeration.

Synopsis

The company Biotex specializes in producing electronic grandmothers. Everybody in the neighborhood of detached houses has one – except the Loudas. The scientist Jarmila Loudová, however, cannot manage her household by herself, and her husband Zdeněk is a violin player unable to help her even with the kids, Alenka and Bertík. The Loudas, tempted by the easy life of their neighbours, eventually order a grandmother, too. Their robot is called Róza and is programmed to help the family thrive and love them. She thus makes unusual meals according to the family's wishes; she wakes up Zdeněk Louda prompting him to practice the violin, and Jarmila should rest by painting. In the beginning, everything goes well but after a while, they all find out that the grandmother's care actually bothers them. The Loudas first suspect the neighbours, but then Zdeněk finds out that Róza was programmed not only to love her family, but also to hate her neighbours. The same is with Carmen, the neighbours' robot. The grandmothers alternate in their pranks and escalate them. And thus, the Loudas find their cat hanged one day and the neighbours' summerhouse is in flames. The Loudas eventually start to fear for their children, but before they can hide them, Carmen tries to kill them. Róza interferes and the two robots start a fight. The wrestle is fierce. The two finally fall down from a garage roof where their hatred took them, and get broken. Both the Loudas and their neighbours feel relieved. When a Biotex representative offers them a new robot, they strictly refuse.

Cast

Jiří Lábus

houslista Zdeněk Louda

Daniela Kolářová

vědecká pracovnice Jarmila, Loudova žena

Kateřina Urbancová

Alenka, dcera Loudových

Petr Frolík

Bertík, syn Loudových

Libuše Havelková

robotka Róza

Jana Dítětová

robotka Carmen

Antonín Hardt

Leoš Pálka

Marie Málková

Pálkova žena

Michal Ryneš

Ámosek, syn Pálkových

Dana Balounová

robotka u Šreinerů

Viktor Vrabec

provozář Biotexu

Karel Chromík

šéf provozu Biotexu

Jarmila Smejkalová

babička Loudová

Jan Rosák

informátor Biotexu

Jiří D. Novotný

informátor Biotexu

Karel Hábl

opravář

René Gabzdyl

opravář

Milan Mach

doktor Biotexu

Ivana Kuchařová

Šreinerová

David Matásek

mladý učitel

Jana Kasanová

učitelka

Eva Sodomová

sekretářka/návštěvnice

Cvetana Igova

sekretářka

Josef Kubíček

zájemce

Jana Sedlmajerová

zájemkyně

Miloslav Císař

mechanik

Markéta Krbušková

hosteska

Bedřich Šetena

zaměstnanec Biotexu

Jiří Šveněk

zaměstnanec Biotexu

Vlastimil Zavřel

zaměstnanec Biotexu

Jaroslav Šanda

muž se sklem

Václav Burkert

muž se sklem

Aleš Boštička

návštěvník

Vítězslav Bouchner

návštěvník

Karel Červinka

návštěvník

Anna Chrapková

návštěvnice

Václav Janeček (2)

návštěvník

Jan Kolenatý

návštěvník

Hubert Kindl

návštěvník

Zuzana Krbcová

návštěvnice

Jana Kolenatá

návštěvnice

Jan Kolomazník

návštěvník

Ladislav Lahoda

návštěvník

Libor Mika

návštěvník

Marcela Macáková

návštěvnice

Vratislav Marek

návštěvník

Isabela Siegelová

návštěvnice

Renata Schmiedtmajerová

návštěvnice

Božena Šimková

návštěvnice

Kateřina Štiblerová

návštěvnice

Jaroslav Tomsa

návštěvník

Dagmar Vlčková

návštěvnice

Jaroslav Walter

návštěvník

Jaroslav Heyduk

muž v letech

Jaromír Císař

hudebník

Josef Čurda

hudebník

Václav Čermák

hudebník

Josef Fousek

hudebník

Ladislav Gregar

hudebník

Zdeněk Grulich

hudebník

Jaroslav Jeník

hudebník

František Kučaba

hudebník

Marta Kučabová

hudebnice

Václav Kolman

hudebník

Jan Kratina

hudebník

Ivo Mehl

hudebník

Jiří Med

hudebník

Naděžda Mimrová

hudebnice

Vladimír Pilař

hudebník

Petr Pergel

hudebník

Václav Petráš

hudebník

Oliver Rožek

hudebník

Miroslav Slouka

hudebník

Václav Slivanský

hudebník

Otta Šlapák

hudebník

Jiří Štefan (2)

hudebník

Josef Valenta (2)

hudebník

Bohumil Vošický

hudebník

Miroslav Vondráček

hudebník

Jan Vondrák

hudebník

Ludmila Vybíralová

hudebnice

Květuše Zemanová

slunící se žena

Jaroslav Klenot

dubl za Janu Dítětovou a Libuši Havelkovou

Antonín Holub

zájemce

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Bohumil Kouba

Assistant Director

Kryštof Hanzlík, Petr Slabý, Corina Schlesingerová

Based on

Zdeněk Hřebík (Černá a bílá – povídka)

Shooting Script

Ladislav Rychman

Script Editor

Vladimír Bor

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Dosoudil

Camera Operator

Roman Pavlíček

Production Designer

Oldřich Bosák

Costume Designer

Petr Diviš

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Milan R. Novotný

Production Manager

Ladislav Novotný

Unit Production Manager

Miroslav Dousek, Luboš Vála

Unit Production Manager

Irena Koucká

Music

Music Composed by

Petr a Pavel Orm

Selected Music

Vilém Blodek (V studni)

Music Performed by

Petr a Pavel Orm

Songs

Mladá láska to je ráj (V studni)

Songwriter

Vilém Blodek (Mladá láska to je ráj )

Writer of Lyrics

Karel Sabina (Mladá láska to je ráj )

Singer

Libuše Havelková (Mladá láska to je ráj )

Production info

Original Title

„Babičky dobíjejte přesně!“

English Title

Grandmothers Get Boosted

Working Title

Babičky

Copyright

1983

Production Year

1983

Premiere

01.07.1984

Creative Group

Jiří Blažek

Technical info

Versions

Czech