Wolf Chalet / Wolf's Hole

horror, psychological

Typology

feature

Czech title

Vlčí bouda

Runtime

92

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1986

Production year

1986

Premiere

01.06.1987

Language version

Czech

Director

Věra Chytilová

Screenplay

Daniela Fischerová, Věra Chytilová

Screenstory

Daniela Fischerová

Summary

The horror genre has made only sporadic appearances in Czechoslovak film. One such occasion was the release of Věra Chytilová’s Vlčí bouda (Wolf Chalet, 1986), but as with other works by the controversial filmmaker, she used the genre as a vehicle for elucidating more general meanings. In Vlčí bouda, the director stays within her favourite territory: a look at the morality of a relationship that approaches a parable of contemporary society. The plot is based on a story theme and screenplay by Daniela Fischerová and it is essentially constructed according to the ground plan for an archetypal tale. The narrative outlines how a group of 11 young people must undergo a rite of passage prematurely, in an environment cut off from the ordinary world. The group is taking part in an elite skiing course at Wolf Chalet in the mountains. They need endure harsh drills under their chief instructor, nicknamed “Daddy”, and two other instructors, Dingo and Babeta. The instructors deliberately incite mistrust and dissention among their wards to compel them to make a life and death decision: if the young people sacrifice one of their peers, they will be allowed to return home. The horror genre surprisingly turns into a venture into sci-fi. The instructors are revealed to be aliens who are testing this sample of humans as part of their preparations for an invasion… In Vlčí bouda, Chytilová tried to expose the mechanisms by which totalitarian regimes manipulate the populace. Despite the fact that young people often represent hope in Chytilová´s feature films, the ski course participants at Vlčí bouda have already been infected by greed and the compromising attitude of adults. Key impacts of the film are reinforced by nerve-racking, dynamic takes from cameraman Jaromír Šofr and the disturbing score by Michal Kocáb. The actors strictly follow the director’s instructions and so their performances are highly stylised. Miroslav Macháček shines as “Daddy”; amateur actors Tomáš Palatý and Štěpánka Červenková play the other instructors. The director also cast talented debutants in the roles of the teenage heroes, many of whom continued acting for years to come.

Synopsis

The selected participants of a ski training at the remote Wolf chalet first meet at an end station of the mountain railway called the Terminal. They are waited for by the head of training, nicknamed Dad, and the instructors, named Dingo and Babeta. There are eleven children - six girls and five boys. They can get to the mountain chalet only by a lumberjack funicular. The children agree on the motto "One for all, all for one" nearby the dilapidated chalet. But the ski training is going to be far from peaceful. They suffer from a lack of food and Táňa, moreover, claims that there is one child too many because the training was only prepared for ten. Gába finds out that Dad does not speak the truth but he convinces her that everything is just a game. Each of the participants is concealing something. The children quarrel, slandering and threatening each other. Various relationships develop among them and everybody's character is revealed. Also the heads' behaviour is quite odd. Petr becomes convinced that they are in the hands of insane people. The truth, however, is even worse. The heads of the training are in fact creatures from another planet whose inhabitants want to occupy Earth as soon as the humans exterminate each other out of hatred. The children serve as a sample of human race. Dad points out that only ten of them can return home and they must sacrifice one. The children think that it is a game and their disputes and quarrels continue; they even threaten each other with death. But they gradually become aware that they indeed face danger, and decide to escape. They get to the funicular on time but the platform is overcrowded. The young people nevertheless discover mutual solidarity in the crowd. They get rid of everything that is unnecessary for survival, including clothes, and the lightened funicular eventually starts moving. The lights of human dwellings shine in the approaching valley.

Cast

Tomáš Palatý

instruktor Dingo

Štěpánka Červenková

instruktorka Babeta

Jan Bidlas

Honza

Rita Dudušová

Gitka

Irena Mrozková

dvojče Lenka

Hana Mrozková

dvojče Linda

Norbert Pýcha

Marcipán

Simona Racková

Gába

Roman Fišer

Jožka

Radka Slavíková

Emilka

Jitka Zelenková (2)

Broňa

Petr Horáček

Alan

Nina Divíšková

Honzova matka

Jan Kačer

Honzův otec

Jiří Krampol

taxikář, Alanův otec

Antonín Vráblík

dřevař

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Milan Cieslar

Assistant Director

Petr Hartl, Eva Truchlá

Shooting Script

Věra Chytilová

Script Editor

Kristián Suda

Second Unit Photography

Miroslav Čvorsjuk

Camera Operator

Lubomír Moravec

Production Designer

Ludvík Široký

Art Director

Jiří Barta

Set Designer

Jiří Forst, Jan Hodný, Milan Šilha

Costume Designer

Šárka Hejnová

Film Editor

Jiří Brožek

Sound Designer

Roman Hloch

Production Manager

Jan Šuster

Unit Production Manager

Bohumil Vlach, Jan Peterka

Unit Production Manager

Emil Sirotek ml.

Music

Music Composed by

Michael Kocáb

Music Performed by

Studiová skupina Michaela Kocába, FISYO

Music Conducted by

Mario Klemens (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

Vlčí bouda

English Title

Wolf Chalet / Wolf's Hole

Working Title

Horní mez zátěže

Copyright

1986

Production Year

1986

Premiere

01.06.1987

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 25. festival českých a slovenských filmů Bratislava

1987
Bratislava / Czechoslovakia
Michael Kocáb

Vítěz

Festival: 27. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1987
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 27. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1987
Zlín / Czechoslovakia