The Shadow of a Fern

ballad

Typology

feature

Czech title

Stín kapradiny

Runtime

90

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1984

Production year

1984

Premiere

01.01.1986

Language version

Czech

Director

František Vláčil

Screenplay

Vladimír Körner, František Vláčil

Summary

Directed by František Vláčil, this 1984 film, adapted from a novel by Josef Čapek, was written by Vladimír Körner. The highly experienced director planned for a number of years to make an adaptation of this story, but only realised his dream at the end of his filmmaking career. Along with cinematographer František Uldrich, Vláčil brings to life a concept in which the main characters’ stories are interwoven with the shots of the natural world, which form an integral part of the overall narrative. The main protagonists of Stín kapradiny (The Shadow of a Fern, 1984) are two poachers, Ruda Aksamit and Vašek Kala, on the run from the law after one of them shot and killed a gamekeeper. They end up wandering aimlessly through the woods, becoming increasingly alienated from each other, and causing more irreparable damage… Director Vláčil casts two Polish actors in the main roles: Marek Probosz and Zbigniew Suszynski. Miroslav Macháček appears as the gamekeeper.

Synopsis

The eighteen-year old Ruda Aksamit works in a travertine quarry. The only thing that interests and controls him is his passion for poaching. He goes to the forest armed with a sawn-off shotgun. He is often accompanied by his friend Vašek Kala who prefers to lay poacher's snares. One day, Ruda shoots a roe-deer. As soon as he attempts to finish it off with a hunting knife, he is disturbed by a gamekeeper. Ruda shoots the forest caretaker dead in no time in an ambush. The two friends hide the body under some stones and run away. On the way, they run into an old married couple - the Čepelkas - the undesired witnesses of their presence in the forest. The two young men know that they must disappear from the village. Ruda only keeps the gun which he took from the dead gamekeeper. Vašek is tortured by the idea of the dead man's funeral. They only partially succeed in avoiding people during their escape. They steal money, clothes and a revolver from an abandoned mill. They jump on a goods train on their further way. Ruda sitting together with Vašek gets drunk in a pub at a small railway station and brags about his sexual experience with a Prague prostitute called Valérie. Vašek apparently has no experience with women yet. A gendarme gets on the bus by which they travel next, and the two runaways thus feel they had better get off at the first stop. They can sense that the man of law has noticed them. They run through a forest and meet a man resembling the gamekeeper. Vašek is exhausted by coughing and feverish dreams. Ruda wants to abandon him unscrupulously, but Vašek eventually goes on using the last of his strength. The two are spotted in a cave by a girl from a scout group. A young dressmaker called Rousová goes through the forest, taking a wedding dress to a customer from the neighbouring village. She meets the gendarme Marjánka who is courting her, but the girl turns down his offer of marriage. The runaways lie in wait for the young dressmaker and try to violate her - fortunately without success. Vašek gets scratches on his face during the fight. The dressmaker is saved by the girl scouts who overheard her call for help. Ruda and Vašek get drunk in a railway workers' shed. Vašek, buying alcohol, meets a beggar - yet another man with the gamekeeper's face. When they sing, drunk, they are found by the gendarme Marjánka and Ruda shoots him dead. The rather sensitive Vašek cannot understand Ruda's brutality. The two boys glimpse a white deer but find themselves unable to kill it. They are surrounded in a potato field and become the targets of many bullets. Ruda shoots one of the men dead but then dies himself. Vašek watches over his body all night. In the morning, he kills himself with Ruda's gun before the gendarmers can get to him.

Film online

Cast

Marek Probosz

Rudolf Aksamit

Zbigniew Suszyński

Václav Kala

Miroslav Macháček

hajný/vagabund/žebrák

František Peterka

otec Aksamit

Vladimír Hlavatý

dědek Čepelka

Milada Ježková

Čepelkova manželka

Josef Patočka

Elsner/dab

Oldřich Velen

nadstrážmistr

Jaroslav Tomsa

strážmistr

Marta Vančurová

švadlena Rousová

Emma Černá

hajná

Jana Švandová

sklepnice/Valérie

Jiří Schmitzer

hospodář

Zdeňka Sajfertová

mladá žena

Petr Skarke

četník Marjánka

Arnošt Böhm

četník

Josef Pechanec

četník

Jaroslav Špáňa

četník

Karel Vávrovec

četník

Jaroslav Vlk

četník

Soňa Novotná

výčepní Růženka

Karel Smrž

harmonikář

Dobroslav Čech

hostinský

Zdeněk Podhůrský

výletník ve sportovním voze

Jitka Asterová

dáma na výletě

Martina Gasparovičová

dáma na výletě

Vlastimil Drbal

hospodářův syn Vašek

Karel Bělohradský

řidič autobusu Ipštenský

Josef Blahož

muzikant

Josef Čermák (2)

muzikant

Jan Forejt

muzikant

Josef Fürst

muzikant

Josef Kasl

muzikant

Zdeněk Kesler

muzikant

Jan Kopecký

muzikant

Antonín Korb

muzikant

Jaroslav Materna

muzikant

Jiří Miloš

muzikant

Vojtěch Říha

muzikant

Jaroslav Šprunk

muzikant

František Trnka

muzikant

František Zikán

muzikant

Ladislav Vacek

kapelník

Slávka Hamouzová

stará žena v autobuse

Vlastimila Vlková

venkovská žena

Dubbing

Michal Pavlata

hlas Rudolfa

Jiří Prager

hlas Václava

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Aleš Dospiva

Assistant Director

Ondřej Balík, Eliška Vojtová

Based on

Josef Čapek (Stín kapradiny – novela)

Shooting Script

František Vláčil

Script Editor

Václav Nývlt

Second Unit Photography

Jiří Ondráček

Camera Operator

Miroslav Čvorsjuk

Production Designer

Jaromír Švarc

Set Designer

Vladimír Ježek, Josef Večerek, Miloslav Dvořák

Costume Designer

Theodor Pištěk ml.

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

František Fabián

Production Manager

Vladimír Vojta

Unit Production Manager

Bohumil Vlach, Benešová Jarmila (2)

Unit Production Manager

Eva Kulhánková

Consultant

Josef Vítovec

Cooperation

Barbora Bílková, Magda Hájková, Roman Květoň, Miroslav Jirsa

Music

Music Composed by

Jiří F. Svoboda

Music Performed by

Miroslav Kejmar (/sólo na křídlovku/), FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Songs

Spadl lístek z javora

Songwriter

lidová píseň (Spadl lístek z javora)

Singer

Marek Probosz [dab] (Spadl lístek z javora), Michal Pavlata (Spadl lístek z javora), Zbigniew Suszyński [dab] (Spadl lístek z javora), Jiří Prager (Spadl lístek z javora)

Production info

Original Title

Stín kapradiny

English Title

The Shadow of a Fern

Copyright

1984

Production Year

1984

Premiere

01.01.1986

Creative Group

Jiří Blažek

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 24. festival českých a slovenských filmů Mariánské Lázně

1986
Mariánské Lázně / Czechoslovakia
Jiří X. Svoboda