On the Contrary, He Is Great!

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1987

Production year

1986—1987

Premiere

1 February 1988

Runtime

85 min

Category

film

Genre

children

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Náhodou je príma!

Czech title

Náhodou je príma!

English title

On the Contrary, He Is Great!

Summary

In her first leading role, Lucie Benešová plays Svatka, a 13-year-old girl who moves into a new house in the Křivoklát region with her parents in 1951. Succumbing to peer pressure and official propaganda, she joins the Pioneer Youth Organisation, but has to keep it secret lest her conservative, bourgeois parents find out. Childhood friendships are disrupted by enmity between various parents, generated by class strife of the collectivisation era. Honza (René Brunč), the son of the communist chairman of the local National Committee, learns this firsthand when his best friend Karel (Jiří Petr) is shunned as the son of a “kulak” (a comparatively wealthy landowning peasant). Meanwhile, Svatka’s father learns he is about to be arrested for “illegal activities” and decides to leave the country… As director Radovan Urban’s first feature film, this 1987 teen movie presents an extremely one-sided and biased view of history that almost calls for a contemporary remake that would offer an alternate perspective.

Synopsis

It is 1951, and Advocate Černý with his wife and thirteen-year old daughter Svatka move from Prague to his villa near Křivoklát castle. The pretty girl attracts her schoolmate Honza, the son of the communist chairman of the local Municipal National Committee, and they become friends. Honza's best friend Karel Šíma is the son of a farmer who refuses to enter the Standard Farming Cooperative. The fathers' different political views hamper the relationships between the boys and their disputes sometimes even grow into fights. Svatka returns Honza's affection and even kisses him. The members of the Czechoslovak Socialist Youth Movement invite the pupils of the local school to the Young Pioneers organization and most of the children become members. Svatka, too, takes the vow but she carefully conceals it from her snobbish mother and conservative father. She and the other Pioneers travel around the district and sing committed socialist songs. At home, she pleads choir rehearsals. When the Communists try to establish the Standard Farming Cooperative in the village, the farmers throw the agitprops into a pond. But the wet activists take it with detachment. Lawyer Černý receives some information from Prague that he is in danger of arrest for his reported illicit activities. He thus does not hesitate to take the family and illegally leave the Czechoslovak Republic. Svatka only manages to hide a farewell letter for Honza in a shelter where she used to keep her Pioneer scarf. Honza also loses Karel. His father was proclaimed a kulak, the farm is nationalized and the family is moved out. The villa left by the Černýs' now serves as a harvest lodging.

Note

The film was awarded the first prize in the competition organized on the occasion of an anniversary of establishing the Young Pioneers Organization.

Cast

Lucie Benešová

Svatka Černá

René Brunč

Honza Polcr

Jiří Petr

Karel Šíma

Oldřich Navrátil

předseda MNV Jindřich Polcr, Honzův otec

Miloš Vávra

sedlák Šíma, Karlův otec

Jan Vlasák

advokát JUDr. Lubomír Černý, Svatčin otec

Soňa Dvořáková

Černá, Svatčina matka

Dana Horčicová

oddílová vedoucí Žeňka

Lubomír Kostelka

převozník Kos

Lucie Hofmannová

Růžena

Martin Wilde

Mirek Kořán

Hana Pastejříková

Polcrová, Honzova matka

Elena Strupková

Šímová, Karlova matka

Václav Sloup

Kořán, Mirkův otec

Hana Davidová

Kořánová, Mirkova matka

Miloš Horanský

učitel Pressl

Jan Cmíral

sedlák Topinka

Karel Effa

bubeník Šnobr

Jana Robenková

Staňková

Martin Hron

agitátor

Oldřich Velen

hostinský

Bohuslav Ličman

majitel hořícího statku

Jiří Edl

kluk Nudle

Vladimír Moravec

kluk Kodým

P. Coufal

Mazánek

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Michal Vostřez

Assistant Director

Dana Šomková, Josef Basakin

Screenstory

Vojtěch Vacke

Shooting Script

Radovan Urban

Script Editor

Milan Pávek

Director of Photography

Martin Benoni

Second Unit Photography

Lubomír Moravec

Camera Operator

Ivan Jiránek

Production Designer

Karel Černý

Set Designer

Jiří Forst, Jan Hodný, Milan Šilha

Costume Designer

Olga Jedličková

Film Editor

Jan Chaloupek

Sound Designer

Alexandr Vrbata

Special Effects

Trikový ateliér FSB

Production Manager

Jana Koubová

Unit Production Manager

Vlasta Synkulová, Lev Veltrubský

Unit Production Manager

Eduard Zanner, Jelínek Rudolf (2)

Cooperation

Michal Krška, M. Gardoň, Jana Paparčíková, Alena Kravková, Zdeněk Vávra, K. Chyška

Music

Music Composed by

Martin Kratochvíl

Selected Music

Robert Schumann

Music Performed by

Martin Kratochvíl,

Songwriter

lidová gruzínská píseň

Writer of Lyrics

Josef Urban

Songs

Proč se tě máma dál už neptá

Songwriter Martin Kratochvíl
Writer of Lyrics Josef Novotný
Singer Lucie Benešová [dab]Lucie BíláJiří Vondráček

Kamarádi

Songwriter Miroslav Juchelka /instrumentace/

Noční motýl

Songwriter Johann Strauss ml.
Writer of Lyrics K. M. Walló
Singer Míla Spazierová-Hezká

Pochod rudých námořníků

Singer dětský sbor

Na tu svatú Katerinu

Singer dětský sbor

Se zpěvem a smíchem

Songwriter Josef Stanislav
Writer of Lyrics Olga Rambousková
Singer dětský sbor

Production info

Original Title

Náhodou je príma!

Czech Title

Náhodou je príma!

English Title

On the Contrary, He Is Great!

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

children

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1987

Production Year

1986—1987

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 11 June 1986
start of filming 21 July 1986
technical Screenplay approved 24 July 1986
end of filming 4 March 1987
projection approval 1 April 1987

Premiere

premiere 1 February 1988

Creative Group

4. dramaturgicko-výrobní skupina, Marcela Pittermannová (vedoucí 4. dramaturgicko-výrobní skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

85 min

Original length in metres

2 445 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech