The Half-Time of Happiness

narrative

Typology

feature

Czech title

Poločas štěstí

Runtime

89

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1984

Production year

1984

Premiere

01.02.1985

Language version

Czech

Director

Zbyněk Brynych

Screenplay

Vojtěch Měšťan

Screenstory

Vojtěch Měšťan

Summary

Zbyněk Brynych launched a prolific directing career with the love story Žižkovská romance (A Local Romance, 1958). He returned to the film's attractive on-screen Prague setting for this 1984 nostalgic drama, the lead character of which is delivery driver Ondřej Bozděch, in his fifties and feeling his age. This ordinary man has spent his whole life in Prague quarter Žižkov. Transporting coal along Žižkov’s familiar, winding roads is something he has no urge to get away from. But his children are growing up, and Žižkov’s old buildings are increasingly making way for more modern architectural designs. Even Bozděch is ultimately forced to ponder what lies ahead in his life. The film unwittingly offers an approving nod towards the controversial revitalisation of the quarter that was taking place at the time. Screenwriter Vojtěch Měšťan wrote the characters of Ondřej and his best friend, engineer Karel – forced for political reasons by the regime to leave his former job as a mathematician – with the acting talents of Josef Vinklář and Jiří Adamíra in mind.

Synopsis

A fifty-year-old coalman, Ondřej Bozděch, from the Prague lower-class neighbourhood of Žižkov, is a man of firm principles. He loves his wife Markéta, his adult daughter Markéta and is also proud of his son Ondra, a talented mathmetician. In spite of his negligible education, he is on excellent terms with the driver Karel, with whom he has been distributing coal in Žižkov for as long as fourteen years. The cultivated mathematician Karel once left a research institute from one day to the next and began working with the coalmen out of spite. As a bachelor, he has his closest background in the Bozděch family. Driving, they meet their friends and they usually go for lunch to a restaurant where the waitress is Karel's pretty girlfriend Monika. The vigorous young woman does not want to marry again – she has divorced three times already, but she knows that Karel is her first respectable man. The two coalmen are dutiful and honest and are trusted by their customers. This is why Ondřej coarsely palms off a man who wants to buy "spare" coal. His daughter Markéta announces that she is pregnant and earns a slap across her face from the flabbergasted father. The mother mildly reminds him about the circumstances under which they themselves married twenty five years ago. Markéta's boyfriend, a military pilot called Honza, knows what is right, and comes over to ask for Markéta's hand. The excited Bozděch takes his wife for a night bar hop through Prague. Karel tells him that he will try to return to his computers. Ondřej approves it but he does not get along with the new driver, Matoušek. At Markéta's wedding, Bozděch learns about the death of his former schoolmate Mirek, an invalid who only recently acquired the desired adapted Škoda car. A few days later, Karel is again behind the truck's steering wheel – he did not succeed in catching up with the years he had missed in the development in his field. Ondřej is happy – everything is as it should be.

Cast

Josef Vinklář

uhlíř Ondřej Bozděch

Jiří Adamíra

řidič Karel, Ondřejův přítel

Miroslava Hozová

zdravotní sestra Markéta Bozděchová

Hana Maciuchová

servírka Monika, Karlova milá

Zora Jandová

Markéta, dcera Bozděchových

Milan Šimáček

žák Ondra, syn Bozděchových

Jiří Schwarz

letec Honza Krupička, Markétin ženich

Miroslav Paleček

skladatel Luděk Lochman

Dana Syslová

kamelotka Lída

Viola Zinková

kamelotka Jana, Lídina sestra

Zdeněk Dítě

vrchní Pepíček

Viktor Maurer

nápadník Moniky

Ladislav Potměšil

řidič Matoušek

Zdeněk Hodr

zákazník ing.Král

Rudolf Hrušínský ml.

invalida Mirek Matýsek

Ferdinand Krůta

holič Benda

Adolf Filip

Hámoš

Jaroslav Čejka

transvestita-striptýzová tanečnice

Tomáš Hendrych

transvestita

Vít Kulka

transvestita

Jan Vít

transvestita

Jana Marková

nápadníkova nová známost

Karel Linc

dispečer uhelných skladů

Karel Smyczek

muzikant Johnny Hrdlička

Svatopluk Skládal

vedoucí masny

Milan Klacek

barman

Jan Cmíral

otec Honzy

Ludmila Krajíčková

matka Honzy

Václav Stýblo

vedoucí autobazaru

Martin Faltýn

asistent

Oto Ševčík

vrchní v baru

Pavel Klůs

mladík

Milan Riehs

zákazník

Irena Ledvinová

varhanistka

Eliška Nejedlá

Kamarýtová

Vlastimil Pleskač

taxikář

František Řebíček

zvukový mistr

Jiří Priesel

diskžokej

H. Rejlková

úřednice

Rostislav Říha

předseda národního výboru

Igor Smržík

inženýr

A. Pospíšilová

pomocnice v kuchyni

Tomáš Bartoš

hudebník

Olga Foučková

hudebnice

Jan Gariš

hudebník

Daniel Hodek

hudebník

Jar. Hrubý

hudebník

Martin Srb

hudebník

Jan Vondráček (2)

hudebník

Dubbing

Jan Kanyza

hlas Lochmana

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Radovan Urban

Assistant Director

Martin Faltýn, Jarmila Kovtanová

Shooting Script

Zbyněk Brynych

Camera Operator

Jiří Krejčík (kamera), Milan Kopecký

Production Designer

Jiří Matolín

Costume Designer

Svatava Sophová

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Ladislav Hausdorf

Special Effects

Trikový ateliér FSB

Production Manager

Eliška Nejedlá

Unit Production Manager

Jana Koubová, Jarmila Tomišková

Unit Production Manager

Hruška František (2)

Cooperation

Zuzana Čvančarová, Magda Hájková, Alena Chvojková, Štěpán Exner, Jan Kuděla

Music

Music Composed by

Jiří F. Svoboda

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Songs

Nám pánům žena je pánem, Holčičko má, nebuď sama, Škoda lásky

Songwriter

Jiří F. Svoboda (Nám pánům žena je pánem), Jaromír Vejvoda (Škoda lásky)

Writer of Lyrics

Jaroslav Machek (Nám pánům žena je pánem)

Singer

Rudolf Cortés (Nám pánům žena je pánem), Josef Vinklář (Holčičko má, nebuď sama), sbor (Holčičko má, nebuď sama)

Production info

Original Title

Poločas štěstí

English Title

The Half-Time of Happiness

Working Title

Žižkovský akordeon / Čas letí a netiká

Copyright

1984

Production Year

1984

Premiere

01.02.1985

Creative Group

Miloslav Vydra

Technical info

Format

35mm , Betacam

Versions

Czech