Tender Barbarian

narrative

Typology

feature

Czech title

Něžný barbar

Runtime

88

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1989

Production year

1989

Premiere

01.09.1990

Language version

Czech

Director

Petr Koliha

Screenplay

Václav Nývlt, Petr Koliha

Summary

Any search for the origins of Petr Koliha's bittersweet 1989 comedy must lead to a Bohumil Hrabal novella that described the Prague district of Libeň as it was in the 1950s. Hrabal’s text was adapted for the screen by Václav Nývlt, one of the most prominent adapters of the great writer's works – he also wrote screenplays for Perličky na dně (Pearls at the Bottom, 1965) and Skřivánci na niti (Skylarks on the String, 1969). His screenplay for Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (I Served the King of England) was never used. Nývlt also adapted a number of Hrabal’s works for the stage. The protagonist of Něžný barbar is Hrabal’s friend, painter and graphic artist Vladimír Boudník (1924–1968), who had actually played himself in Perličky na dně (in the story Automat Svět [World Café] directed by Věra Chytilová). In this film, Boudník plays one of three men who manage to maintain their free, bohemian lifestyle, despite the oppressive atmosphere of the 1950s. Boudník, Doktor (Hrabal’s alter ego) and philosopher Egon Bondy (here presented with his real name, Zbyněk Fišer) hold witty debates on the true nature of art. Vladimír works at engineering firm ČKD, where he meets and falls in love with a cafeteria server, Tereza, and finds a place to display his original, misunderstood art pieces realised in the spirit of explosionalism. When Tereza becomes tired of living in squalor, she leaves Vladimír, who tragically ends his own life, but lives on in his friend’s memories... Nývlt and Koliha did not try to emulate Hrabal’s wild, “unfilmable” style. Instead, they opted for a classic, slightly poetic view, focusing on the three extravagant protagonists and other quaint characters on the fringes of their lives. The director placed his bets on three main performers: Bolek Polívka (Vladimír), Arnošt Goldflam (Egon) and Jiří Menzel (the Doctor). Menzel is of course the director known as the chief adapter of Hrabal’s works. Ivana Chýlková plays Tereza.

Synopsis

It is the 1950s. Three friends – the bohemians and outsiders Vladimír (who in fact embodies the extraordinary artist Vladimír Boudník), the Doctor (the writer Bohumil Hrabal) and the philosopher Egon Bondy (Zbyněk Fišer by his real name) – live in the Prague suburban neighborhood of Libeň. They use to meet in a snack bar called The World and share various extravagant ideas. Vladimír loves Tereza, the tea-woman in the ČKD (the Czech-Moravian Kolben Daněk) factory where he also works. He organizes an exhibition of his works in the factory hall. They are the results of his unique artistic style which he calls Explosionalism and the aim of which is to unleash people's fantasy. The three friends, along with the Libeň barflies, patiently wait for beer until the publican has finished making love to his wife. They take mirrors from an abandoned hotel to the Doctor's flat and arrange them so that the sun is always shining inside – but the cleaning lady Šulcová then becomes disorientated in the flat. Tereza is fed up with living in poverty with Vladimír and breaks up with him. The Doctor offers him a room. But the two soon have a quarrel and brick up the connecting door. Vladimír's next exhibition takes place in the Viola club and the artist vainly looks for Tereza to show up at the opening. He woos the barmaid Marie, but his memory of Tereza does not allow him to make love to another woman. His life ends in suicide. The grieving Doctor says about him: "… from the dike of the present, there he jumped, heading first to the heart of eternity…" The Doctor re-opens the bricked-up doorway and Egon vainly tries to chase his gloom away. Leaving, he can only hear the clatter of his friend's typewriter.

Film online

Cast

Boleslav Polívka

výtvarník Vladimír

Jiří Menzel

spisovatel zvaný Doktor

Arnošt Goldflam

filozof Egon

Ivana Chýlková

Tereza, Vladimírova milenka

Evelyna Steimarová

výčepní v automatu Svět paní Marie

Valerie Kaplanová

uklízečka Šulcová

Jaromír Hanzlík

neúspěšný sebevrah Alois Nejedlo

Lenka Termerová

Anička, Nejedlova žena

Rudolf Hrušínský

opilec z železniční restaurace

Luba Skořepová

žena s kočárkem

Pavel Nový

saniťák

Pavel Zedníček

saniťák

Vlastimil Venclík

kulturní referent ROH

Jan Kehár

mladší příslušník VB

Leoš Suchařípa

uměnovědec na vernisáži

Jiří Hálek

muž v montgomeráku

Antonín Zacpal

štamgast

Ivan Vyskočil

štamgast

Jiří Novotný

inteligent

Jan Schmid

Duže

Miloslav Štibich

příslušník VB

Ladislav Brothánek

velitel okrsku Veřejné bezpečnosti

Růžena Jedličková

Vladimírova sousedka

Jiří Schmiedt

muž v rádiovce

Uršula Kluková

hostinská Vaništová

Zdeněk Srstka

hostinský Vaništa

Filip Smoljak

student s brýlemi

Gustav Vondráček

přihlížející

Miloslav Čížek

nadávající nájemník

Lea Bernhardtová

nájemnice

Alena Fischerová

nájemnice

Milan Charvát

nájemník

Naděžda Kreclová

nájemnice

Vladimír Salač

nájemník

Josef Vondráček

nájemník

J. Vonášek

Vic

Zdeněk Hess

host vernisáže

Růžena Rudnická

host vernisáže

B. Gajdoš

zedník

Crew and creators

Director

Petr Koliha

Second Unit Director

Josef Jarolímek

Based on

Bohumil Hrabal (Něžný barbar – novela)

Script Editor

Sonja Kroupová

Camera Operator

Stanislav Šťastný

Production Designer

Zbyněk Hloch

Set Designer

Jaroslav Česal, Jan Klíma, Bohumil Kadlec, Petr Průša, Jaroslav Pospíšil (3)

Costume Designer

Marie Franková

Film Editor

Jiří Brožek

Sound Designer

Jiří Moudrý

Special Effects

Miroslav Šnábl

Production Manager

Přemysl Pražský

Unit Production Manager

Miloš Matula, Bohdan Kysil

Unit Production Manager

Markéta Hájková

Cooperation

Eva Horázná, Petr Javůrek, Renata Janovová, Václav Knapp

Music

Music Composed by

Miki Jelínek

Selected Music

Ludwig van Beethoven (Pro Elišku /Für Elise/ – klavírní skladba a moll)

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Mario Klemens (FISYO)

Songs

Stavíme nový svět, Dobrý den, Rozkvetlý den, Se zpěvem a smíchem, Armádě zdar, Píseň o straně, Jeník úderník, Píseň komunistické straně, Narodil se Kristus pán, Už je ta láska, už je pryč

Songwriter

Jiří Pauer (Stavíme nový svět), Ludvík Podéšť (Dobrý den), Radim Drejsl (Rozkvetlý den), Josef Stanislav (Se zpěvem a smíchem), Radim Drejsl (Armádě zdar), Jan Seidel (Píseň o straně), Radim Drejsl (Jeník úderník), Milan Munclinger (Jeník úderník), Václav Dobiáš (Píseň komunistické straně)

Writer of Lyrics

Jiří Pauer (Stavíme nový svět), Rudolf Franz (Dobrý den), Miroslav Zachata (Rozkvetlý den), Olga Rambousková (Se zpěvem a smíchem), Miroslav Zachata (Armádě zdar), Jiří Plachetka (Píseň o straně), Miroslav Kroh (Jeník úderník), Vítězslav Nezval (Píseň komunistické straně)

Singer

sbor (Stavíme nový svět), Jaroslav Maxmilián Navrátil (Dobrý den), sbor (Dobrý den), sbor (Rozkvetlý den), sbor (Se zpěvem a smíchem), sbor (Armádě zdar), sbor (Píseň o straně), sbor (Jeník úderník), sbor (Píseň komunistické straně), mužský hlas (Narodil se Kristus pán), mužský hlas (Už je ta láska, už je pryč)

Production info

Original Title

Něžný barbar

English Title

Tender Barbarian

Copyright

1989

Production Year

1989

Premiere

01.09.1990

Creative Group

Jiří Blažek

Technical info

Format

Betacam, HD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Exhibition: Dny českého a slovenského filmu Bratislava

1990
Bratislava / Czechoslovakia
Boleslav Polívka

Vítěz

Exhibition: Dny českého a slovenského filmu Bratislava

1990
Bratislava / Czechoslovakia
Vladimír Smutný

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká cena Ústředního výboru Svazu socialistické mládeže

1989
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Petr Koliha