Silence of the Larks

psychological

Typology

feature

Lenght

long

Czech title

Skřivánčí ticho

Runtime

98 min

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1989

Production year

1989

Premiere

01.05.1990

Language version

Czech

Director

Antonín Máša

Summary

Director Antonín Máša was among the artists whose creative career was almost brought to an end by the advent of “normalisation” that followed the events of 1968. He directed only two films in the 1970s, but he then made a belated return with Skřivánčí ticho (Silence of Larks, 1989). The film, for which Máša also wrote the screenplay, shared with other productions the unenviable fate of having been created before November 1989 but released to cinemas after the Velvet Revolution (cinemagoers were spoilt for choice as films flooded into the newly opened market). As a result, this tale of classical music composer Chvála, who tries in vain to find the necessary peace for his work in his native village, failed to impress critics or find an audience. The lead role of the composer whose demanding compositions remain misunderstood was played by Ladislav Frej. The role of the composer’s brother, the venal and deceitful village official Venda, allowed Petr Čepek a rare opportunity to play the villain. Čepek also performed in Máša’s last film, the drama Byli jsme to my? (Were We Really Like This?, 1990).

Synopsis

The classical music composer Josef Chvála is oversensitive to metropolitan noise and superficial human relationships. He learns that his most recent composition is too demanding to perform and his requirements are impossible to realize. He thus decides to leave for his native village of Dubí. But he cannot find peace there, either. Brass music roars all over from the village speakers and his brother Venda, the deputy-director of the local construction enterprise and, simultaneously, the leading official of the village national committee, is loudly summoning everybody to some temporary work. Oversized and unnecessary constructions keep appearing in the village. The widely popular concrete is even in the backyard of Venda's detached house so that it can be easily vacuum cleaned up. Josef's sister and her husband build a villa with several bathrooms even though their plot has no water. They later plan to sell the cottage profitably. The brothers' totally different lifestyles result in a harsh quarrel. Josef gets injured in it and returns to Prague. Venda's local opponent, Béďa, gossips about the brothers' fight but Venda disclaims it and moreover lies that Josef promised to compose a polka for the local brass orchestra. Their old father Chvála talks Josef into returning to the village. The musician is accompanied by his girlfriend Irena who reconciles everybody by her kindness. Josef, however, has an unconditional requirement: Venda must return the forest alleys, which he arbitrarily blacktopped, to their original condition. The village brass orchestra eventually finds Josef's polka too demanding to perform but its professional version is broadcast on the radio and Venda triumphs. Josef, immersed in his own world, composes his next opus in his Prague flat, having no idea that he has been left by his hitherto patient Irena and that Venda is just festivaly opening a new monstrous forest park in spite of his previous promises.

Note

The movie contains a recording of Svatopluk Havelka´s composition Poggii Florentini ad Leonardum Aretinum Epistole de M. Hieronymi de Praga Supplico (Poggio Bracciolini´s Letter to Leonardo Bruni of Arezzo, Informing Him about the Indictment against the Prague Master Jerome) – the oratorio for solos, children´s mixed and madrigal choirs, organ and orchestra. The composition is called The Report on Stake Burning in the story.

Cast

Ladislav Frej

skladatel Josef Chvála

Taťána Fischerová

spisovatelka Irena, Josefova přítelkyně

Petr Čepek

funkcionář Venda, Josefův bratr

Dana Syslová

Miluše, Vendova manželka

Zdena Hadrbolcová

Vlasta, Josefova sestra

Josef Somr

Jára, manžel Vlasty

Jiří Pleskot

otec Chvála

Markéta Sedláčková

Milena, dcera Miluše a Vendy

Ondřej Vetchý

automechanik Kája, syn Járy a Vlasty

Michal Pavlata

redaktor Frélich

Jan Schmid

hudební teoretik Sobota

Leoš Suchařípa

pedagog Borový

Jiří Štědroň

dramaturg Kvasil

Vítězslav Jandák

tajemník ONV Béďa

Naďa Konvalinková

Maruš, Béďova manželka

Jiřina Třebická

sousedka Šimková

Evelyna Steimarová

obvodní lékařka Andulka

Jiří Kodet

majitel mlýna Kamil Vaněk

Hana Burešová

Vaňkova žena

Karel Černoch

host u Vaňka

Miloslav Štibich

předseda JZD

Jiří Němeček

družstevník

Jiří Wimmer

host u Vaňka

Jiří Samek

ředitel Státních statků

Antonín Jedlička

pořadatel přednášky dr. Žíla

Raoul Schránil

ušlechtilý pán

Ema Skálová

dáma na přednášce

Gabriela Wilhelmová

úřednice MNV

Václav Babka

kapelník

Jan Teplý

Franta

Jaroslav Heyduk

Standík

Ota Filip

družstevník

Jan Hyhlík

družstevník

Jan Kotva

družstevník

Martin Učík

družstevník

Sabina Hánová

slečna

Jiří Zobač

režisér v nahrávacím studiu

Mario Klemens

dirigent v nahrávacím studiu

FISYO

orchestr v nahrávacím studiu

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Josef Loučím, František Nejedlý

Assistant Director

Jarmila Kovtanová, Oldřich Vlasák

Screenstory

Antonín Máša

Screenplay

Antonín Máša

Script Editor

Václav Šašek

Second Unit Photography

Karel Hejsek

Camera Operator

Václav Zajíček

Production Designer

Přemek Longa

Set Designer

Vladimír Kvěch, Pavel Svoboda, Miloslav Dvořák

Costume Designer

Jan Kropáček

Production Manager

Karel Kochman

Unit Production Manager

Eliška Sekavová, Jarmila Tomišková

Unit Production Manager

Eva Dymáková, Vladimír Seiml

Cooperation

Růžena Hejsková, Martin Malý, Petr Rychetský (pyroefekty), Jaroslav Tůma, Gabriela Šimková

Music

Music Composed by

Svatopluk Havelka

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Mario Klemens (FISYO)

Songs

Škoda lásky, Už troubějí na horách jeleni, Ona se brání, Na Vlachovce /Padla facka na sále/

Songwriter

Jaromír Vejvoda (Škoda lásky), Vladislav Heráček (Ona se brání), Arnošt Mošna (Na Vlachovce /Padla facka na sále/)

Writer of Lyrics

Pavel Žák (Ona se brání)

Singer

Karel Černoch (Ona se brání)

Production info

Original Title

Skřivánčí ticho

English Title

Silence of the Larks

Category

film

Typology

feature

Genre

psychological

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1989

Production Year

1989

Premiere

01.05.1990

Creative Group

Miloslav Vydra

Technical info

Lenght

long

Runtime

98 min

Versions

Czech