The Odd Friendships of the Actor Jesenius

narrative

Typology

feature

Czech title

Podivná přátelství herce Jesenia

Runtime

88

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1985

Production year

1985

Premiere

01.06.1986

Language version

Czech

Director

Karel Steklý

Summary

This 1985 adaptation of Ivan Olbracht’s 1919 novel became the last title in the vast filmography of director Karel Steklý (1903–1987). The novelist’s elaborately crafted work takes to task “malevolent reclusiveness” through the performances of two actor-characters of opposite temperaments – unrestrained, free-thinking anarchist Veselý and temperate humanist Jesenius. The ethical victory in this drama, set in the era of the First World War, goes to Veselý. He is willing to give up his life for socially progressive ideals of his time… The feature film, which Steklý also informed as the screenwriter, turns on the traditional conflict between active and passive attitudes in life. Olbracht´s stance and the contemporary ideology of the 1980s vindicate Veselý, rendered in this formally conservative feature by Pavel Trávníček. Alfred Strejček stars as Jesenius.

Synopsis

A famous actor, Jiří Jesenius, has problems with his vocal cords. Upon the recommendation of his physician, Doctor Vyšín, he leaves for the countryside to stay with his friend Šupich. Here he meets a very young piano player, Klárka, who secretly loves him. In the evening, they all attend a performance of a wandering theatre ensemble. Jesenius is captivated by the temperamental young actor Jan Veselý and when the performance is over, he offers to help find him an engagement in Prague. But Jan pays more attention to Klárka. In the evening, Klárka visits Jesenius and wants him to kiss her. She is offended by the actor's moment of hesitation and runs away from his room. Veselý visits Jesenius in Prague after all. Jesenius gets him the title role in the theatre play Faun. Jan meets Klárka by accident, and when he later visits her at home, he declares his love for her. He is very successful in the theatre but the rehearsal for the next, more significant part, ends in a fiasco due to his lack of discipline. News about the Sarajevo assassination spreads like lightning. Jan immediately drops his theatre engagement and disappears. Klárka leaves for an engagement in Bad Gastein, and Jesenius is left alone. One day, returning from the Šupichs with some food supplies, he meets Jan on the train. Jan is on his way to Berlin, having a conspirative mission, but he is killed in a shooting with the military control. The same night, Klárka returns to Jesenius who does not conceal his love this time.

Cast

Alfred Strejček

herec Jiří Jesenius

Pavel Trávníček

herec Jan Veselý

Jiří Štěpnička

správce hřebčince ing. František Šupich

Martina Hudečková

konzervatoristka Klára Brožková

Monika Hálová

Marta, Šupichova žena

Rudolf Jelínek

herec Kratochvíl

Stanislava Bartošová

herečka Skřivanová

Milan Riehs

divadelní ředitel Multrus

Jiří Lír

herec Dominik

Václav Štekl

ředitel kočovné herecké společnosti Břetislav

Jaroslava Obermaierová

herečka Burdová

Václav Sloup

ježatý sluha

Veronika Jeníková

herečka Lípová

Viktor Vrabec

herec Kareš

Ferdinand Krůta

nápověda a sluha Baráček

Miloš Nesvadba

choreograf

Oldřich Velen

herec Mestek

Zdeněk Kutil

šikovatel

Vladimír Navrátil

kaprál Reif

Karel Hovorka

domovník Pára

Karel Hovorka ml.

rekvizitář

Miloslav Homola

inspicient v pražském divadle

Milan Mach

MUDr. Vyšín

Gustav Jankovský

posluha

Alena Karešová

nalíčená holka

Vítězslav Černý

vrátný Mráz

Petr Drozda

portýr

Jaromír Klempíř

korepetitor

Václav Mareš

podezřelý frajer

Libuše Pavlíková

poštmistrová

Oto Ševčík

Ďoubal

Josef Lakatos

hudebník

Karel Turnovský

hudebník

Vladimír Tymich

hudebník

Richard Mihula

herec

Marcela Pavlastová

herec

Luděk Špáta

herec

Helena Valentová

herečka

Jiří Kraus

dubl za Trávníčka

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Bohumil Kouba

Based on

Ivan Olbracht (Podivné přátelství herce Jesenia – román)

Screenplay

Karel Steklý

Shooting Script

Karel Steklý

Second Unit Photography

Eduard Kadeřábek

Camera Operator

Jiří Knotek

Production Designer

Věra Líznerová

Set Designer

Miroslav Buberle, Žák Jiří (2), Ladislav Winkelhöfer

Costume Designer

Dimitrij Kadrnožka

Film Editor

Jan Chaloupek

Sound Designer

Miloslav Hůrka

Production Manager

Jiří Zika

Unit Production Manager

Bohumil Vlach, Olga Zelenská

Unit Production Manager

René Kořenář

Cooperation

Ivana Kačírková (2), Alena Chvojková, František Vokřál, Miroslav Pešan

Music

Music Composed by

Jaromír Klempíř

Music Performed by

FISYO

Songs

Každý čert je s ďáblem v spolku (/ze hry Zmoudření Dona Quijota/), Zastesknutí /Zastesklo se mi v zázračném městě/

Songwriter

E. F. Burian (Zastesknutí /Zastesklo se mi v zázračném městě/)

Writer of Lyrics

Viktor Dyk (Každý čert je s ďáblem v spolku ), Vítězslav Nezval (Zastesknutí /Zastesklo se mi v zázračném městě/)

Singer

Pavel Trávníček (Každý čert je s ďáblem v spolku ), Alfred Strejček (Zastesknutí /Zastesklo se mi v zázračném městě/)

Production info

Original Title

Podivná přátelství herce Jesenia

English Title

The Odd Friendships of the Actor Jesenius

Working Title

Podivné přátelství herce Jesenia

Copyright

1985

Production Year

1985

Premiere

01.06.1986

Creative Group

Miloslav Vydra

Technical info

Versions

Czech