The Sick White Elephant

satire

Typology

feature

Czech title

Nemocný bílý slon

Runtime

98

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1989

Production year

1989

Premiere

01.03.1990

Language version

Czech

Director

Karel Smyczek

Screenplay

Ivan Bednář, Mirko Halm, Karel Smyczek

Screenstory

Ivan Bednář, Mirko Halm

Synopsis

The young, married and pregnant Klára is just leaving the Prague flat of her parents, Mr and Mrs Outlík. Konrád and Marie Outlíková are ready to begin a new life. He is finally going to start jogging and she is going to exchange the flat, move out of Prague and stay with her daughter and her partner. Konrád's employer, the Culture Research Institution, is planning a reorganization, and Konrád thus agrees to become the director of a new community centre somewhere in the suburbs. He catches flu but refuses to stay in bed, even though he knows that the planned community centre is still in the stage of construction. Despite his fever, he sets up a provisional office on the construction site. He soon finds out that the realization of the house totally diverges from the approved plans. Its architect presents him with a model of the final building and explains how many changes were ordered by the investor. People interested in renting space in the new building queue to visit Konrád. The local citizens' committee resolutely requires a laundry, mangle, creamery and agitational centre in the complex. Konrád throws them out and is severely reproached by his superior Vršínek who had already promised the spaces to the firemen. Konrád tries in vain to protect cultural concerns. His former institute meanwile has undergone a glorious reorganization and it seems that the people there simply rotated their positions. The doctor wants Konrád to recover from his fever and stay in bed, but the man refuses although the rain literally falls on his head in his office. The public health officers have objections about the inadequate sanitary facilities but no one wants to sign Konrád's application asking to extend them. The site manager eventually calls the unfinished community centre the "sick white elephant" which is unable to survive. Marie leaves Prague to see her newborn granddaughter. The labour safety committee, invited over by Konrád, arrives at the only possible conclusion - to tear the construction down and build a new one. Vršínek blames Konrád Outlík; he reportedly has not succeeded in coping with the assigned job. Outlík is eventually not approved to assume the position. In a feverish vision, the jogging Konrád Outlík is followed by his colleagues and superiors. Marie and the young couple with the baby return to Prague because the other place is unbearable. Konrád sets off jogging again. He is, alas, chased by a pack of dogs in the park.

Note

The sculptures of children displayed in the studio were created by Marie Uchytilová (1924–1989). They were meant as a tribute to the eighty two children from the village of Lidice who were murdered during the Second World War. The artist worked on them from 1969 until her death, but only in the form of plaster models. Due to the lack of funding and the authorities´ ignorance, the sculptures were cast in bronze one by one thanks to donations only as late as between 1995 and 2000, i. e. long after the artist´s death. The group sculpture was, however, eventually installed in Lidice.

Cast

Oldřich Navrátil

ředitel kulturního domu Konrád Outlík

Miloslav Štibich

místopředseda OV pro kulturu Vršínek

Marie Durnová

Outlíkova žena Marie

Simona Stašová

inspektorka kultury Vladana Říhová

Bořík Procházka

ředitel obvodních kulturních domů Oldřich

Jaroslav Sypal

náměstek ředitele Karel

František Řehák

tajemník OV

Gabriela Wilhelmová

vedoucí odboru Olejníková

Leoš Suchařípa

architekt Kemr

Mojmír Maděrič

sochař Suchánek

Marián Labuda

vedoucí Restaurací a jídelen Kocan

Ladislav Gerendáš

hostinský Ruda zvaný Egypťan

Alice Dvořáková

Vršínkova sekretářka

Pavlína Mourková

sekretářka ÚVK Kristýna

Oldřich Vlach

stavbyvedoucí Machata

Jiřina Jelenská

členka občanského výboru č. 37

Eugen Jegorov

člen občanského výboru č. 37

František Husák

inspektor bezpečnosti práce

Barbora Srncová

Klára, dcera Outlíkových

Jiří Langmajer

Adam, Klářin muž

Zuzana Schmidová

zdravotní sestra

Vlastimil Venclík

kontrolor nemocných

Elmar Klos

akademik, ředitel Ústavu pro výzkum kultury

Jan Foll

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Radovan Holub

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Miloš Petana

Vambera, zaměstnanec ÚVK

Jiří Patočka

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Mirka Spáčilová

zaměstnankyně ÚVK

Zdeněk Štábla

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Jan Jaroš

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Jan Bernard

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Věra Míšková

Vávrová, zaměstnankyně ÚVK

Stanislav Bensch

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Milica Pechánková

zaměstnankyně ÚVK

Pavel Taussig

Haas, zaměstnanec ÚVK

Valentina Thielová

Fastová, zaměstnankyně ÚVK

Antonín Bubeník

Toníček, zaměstnanec ÚVK

Karel Smyczek

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Ivan Šlapeta

zaměstnanec ÚVK

Josef Kubíček

lesní inspektor Doutnáč

Adolf Kohuth

funkcionář

Rostislav Kuba

funkcionář

Igor Smržík

funkcionář

Alena Štréblová

zaměstnankyně OV

Jitka Asterová

sekretářka

Pavel Brümer

Vršínkův služební řidič

Jan Hraběta

hostinský

Ladislav Goral

Ďuro, šéf stavební party

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Petr Hartl

Assistant Director

Renata Čihulková, Jarmila Čajová

Script Editor

Dušan Kukal

Second Unit Photography

Jiří Maxa

Camera Operator

Vladimír Křepelka

Production Designer

Boris Halmi

Art Director

Konstantin Galas, Marie Uchytilová

Set Designer

Ivan Břešťák, Jaroslav Česal, Petr Průša, Marek Šíma

Costume Designer

Petr Kolínský

Film Editor

Zdenek Patočka

Sound Designer

Václav Vondráček

Production Manager

Václav Eisenhamer

Unit Production Manager

Zdeňka Černá, Hana Štefanová

Unit Production Manager

Petr Kellner, Ladislava Kašáková

Cooperation

Olga Rosenfelderová, Gabriela Pitráková, Jitka Zvirocká, Zdeněk Mihle

Music

Music Composed by

Michal Pavlíček

Music Conducted by

Michal Pavlíček (Studiová skupina Michala Pavlíčka)

Songs

Špičková kultura jako řemen

Songwriter

Michal Pavlíček (Špičková kultura jako řemen)

Singer

Michael Kocáb (Špičková kultura jako řemen), Studiová skupina Michala Pavlíčka (Špičková kultura jako řemen)

Production info

Original Title

Nemocný bílý slon

English Title

The Sick White Elephant

Copyright

1989

Production Year

1989

Premiere

01.03.1990

Creative Group

Miloslav Vydra

Technical info

Format

Betacam

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 12. festival české a slovenské filmové veselohry Novoměstský hrnec smíchu Nové Město nad Metují

1990
Nové Město nad Metují / Czechoslovakia
Karel Smyczek

Vítěz

Festival: 12. festival české a slovenské filmové veselohry Novoměstský hrnec smíchu Nové Město nad Metují

1990
Nové Město nad Metují / Czechoslovakia
Ivan Bednář

Vítěz

Festival: 12. festival české a slovenské filmové veselohry Novoměstský hrnec smíchu Nové Město nad Metují

1990
Nové Město nad Metují / Czechoslovakia
Miloslav Štibich

Vítěz

Festival: 12. festival české a slovenské filmové veselohry Novoměstský hrnec smíchu Nové Město nad Metují

1990
Nové Město nad Metují / Czechoslovakia
Mirko Halm