The Fine Art of Defence

psychological

Typology

feature

Czech title

Jemné umění obrany

Runtime

78

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1987

Production year

1987

Premiere

01.10.1988

Language version

Czech

Director

Jana Semschová

Screenplay

Karel Semerád, Jana Semschová

Screenstory

Karel Semerád

Summary

The 1987 motion picture Jemné umění obrany (The Fine Art of Defence) happens to be the sole cinema title in the filmography of director Jana Semschová. Interestingly, although it was certainly made for the big screen, it very much draws on a television motif: eighteen-year-old Martina, set to be released from a children’s home into adult life, is being filmed by a young TV director, Slávek Havel. He is, however, only one of a range of characters who have some persuasion in Martina’s decision-making about her future. A youth from the kids’ home, Šíša, as well as the governess nicknamed “Smrtka” (“the banshee”) and the home director Pitrýsek are among those who have influence... With the help of friends as well as apparent enemies, Martina learns that just like in judo – a martial art which she pursues – existence among people also has its complex rules... Director Semschová entrusted her leading part to debuting actress Jana Krišicová, a performer who eventually did not succeed in the acting business. The use of professional actors (Maroš Kramár, Jana Riháková) said something about her wish for authenticity in her first foray into cinema filmmaking.

Synopsis

Eighteen year old Martina Kuncová, from a children's home, is illustrating judo for the film of a young TV film director, Slávek Havel. An inmate, Šíša, is desperately in love with the girl. Martina has problems in the children's home with the bitter governess whom they call by nickname, The Death. On the other hand, the director of the children's home, Rudolf Pitras aka Pitrýsek, likes the inmates and tries to help them. Martina is learning to cook under the strict supervision of Mrs. Bartáková, the mother of her suitor, Kamil. Bartáková harms Míla - Martina's friend. Martina decides to take revenge on Kamil. She arranges a date with him, lets him invite her to a wine house, where Kamil's mother takes care of the beloved Pitrýsek. Martina is already of her majority and does not belong in the children's home. But in order to live alone, she needs a job and a flat. Pitrýsek offers for her to live, in the meantime, in a flatlet that he just got. He does not want to move there, because he considers the institution his home. Martina allows Šíša to stay overnight, as he just came back from the funeral of his grandmother, the only person who cared for him. The Death finds him there and causes a scandal. In a hysteric fit, she beats up Martina. Martina moves away to the flatlet. Šíša is afraid to leave the children's home and plans to fail his leaving exam. Bartáková asks Martina not to date Kamil. Martina passes her leaving exam. On the wall of the children's home, a declaration of love written by Kamil appears. Slávek finishes his film. Kamil wants to marry Martina. She tells him rationally to come back in half a year and goes back to the children's home as a cook. Šíša passes his exam and wants to kill himself. Surprisingly, The Death rescues him. Everything is now back as it was before. Martina watches playing children from the window.

Cast

Jana Krišicová

Martina Kuncová

Monika Šeligová

Míla Beránková, Martinina kamarádka

Petr Strejček

Šíša

Ladislav Mrkvička

ředitel Rudolf Pitras zvaný Pitrýs

Maroš Kramár

režisér Slávek Havel

Jana Dolanská

vychovatelka Smrhová

Michal Hanuš

student Kamil Barták

Drahomíra Hofmanová

kuchařka Helena Bartáková, Kamilova matka

Ladislav Křiváček

správce dětského domova Ludvík Káva

Miriam Kantorková

Bětuška, Kávova žena

Bohumír Starý

osvětlovač Karel

Jan Sedlák (2)

Lojza Pšenička

Brigita Zlámalová

Zuzana

Jakub Zdeněk

malý Jirka

Kateřina Fisterová

dívka v dětském domově

František Jákl

trenér juda

Jan Fišar

Jarda Mák

Petr Svárovský

kameraman Dušan

Miroslav Karola

asistent kamery František

Tomáš Jirman

předseda místní organizace SSM Jirka Páral

Ladislav Brückner

Jaroslav Vogel

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Josef Sandr

Assistant Director

Roman Lauterkranc, Zdeňka Stiborová

Screenstory

Karel Semerád

Script Editor

Jan Gogola

Second Unit Photography

Sead Muhtarević

Camera Operator

Miloš Mališka, Miroslav Makarov

Production Designer

Petr Smola

Set Designer

Bohuslav Peloušek, Josef Vojtášek

Film Editor

Petr Sitár

Sound Designer

Josef Javořík

Production Manager

Zdeněk Stibor

Unit Production Manager

Věra Kopecká, Jiří Zemanec

Music

Music Composed by

Jiří F. Svoboda

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Mario Klemens (FISYO)

Songs

Když jsou doma galeje, V širom poli studánečka, Už troubějí na horách jeleni, Mysliveček vyšel z lesa

Songwriter

Zdeněk Barták (Když jsou doma galeje)

Writer of Lyrics

Boris Janíček (Když jsou doma galeje)

Singer

Michal David (Když jsou doma galeje), Monika Šeligová (V širom poli studánečka), Ladislav Křiváček (Už troubějí na horách jeleni), sbor (Mysliveček vyšel z lesa)

Production info

Original Title

Jemné umění obrany

English Title

The Fine Art of Defence

Copyright

1987

Production Year

1987

Premiere

01.10.1988

Technical info

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 5. mezinárodní filmový festival Troia

1989
Troia / Portugal

Vítěz

Festival: 21. filmový festival mladých Trutnov

1988
Trutnov / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 21. filmový festival mladých Trutnov

1988
Trutnov / Czechoslovakia
Jana Krišicová