Masseba

allegory

Typology

feature

Czech title

Masseba

Runtime

95

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1989

Production year

1989

Premiere

01.04.1990

Language version

Czech

Director

Miloš Zábranský

Screenplay

Miroslav Vaic, Miloš Zábranský

Screenstory

Miroslav Vaic

Summary

Parables often enabled Czechoslovak directors to escape the whims of regime censors, and even sneak in critical commentaries about the state of contemporary society. That was very much the case with this film based on a story idea and script by Miroslav Vaic. Though made in 1989, Masseba only found its way to audiences in the subsequent era of “free” distribution. The new climate significantly reduced the impact of this allegorical and conspiratorial tale, which relates the totalitarian practices found within a fictional society. In an underground city, a civilisation survives without any kind of morality or compassion, functioning only through fear and violence. “Tall youngster Honza” (Karel Roden), a member of the retinue of the cruel Major (Václav Postránecký), tries to steer a different path when he falls in love with the lovely Mulatka (Victoria Kidane). Masseba itself is a slope emblazoned with some mysterious letters, which appear to have the power to dissuade our hero from evil and instead turn him towards good.

Synopsis

The cold and alienated world - which maybe just underwent a nuclear disaster and knows no morals or the power of human relationships any more - is ruled by the Leader and his henchmen. Murder and rape are commonplace in the grey "town" of concrete and ruins. A member of the Leader's cortege, a guy called Tall, falls in love with the girl Mulatto. The eloquent exchange of looks between the two proves that the attraction is mutual. The inhabitants of the dusty concrete jungle attempt to have some life, singing and worshipping the sculpture of their pig deity. Mulatto dusts books in the library while the Librarian chiselles signs in stone. Even these simple activities are, however, crudely intervened in by the Leader and his gang. The Leader rapes Mulatto and another man from his entourage stabs the Librarian dead. They also want to liquidate Tall and throw him out of a window, but the Leader eventually orders him to be pulled back up. The only bright point in the mass of grey blocks and grey attires in this world is the Angel Girl who runs through the town from time to time. Tall is mesmerized by a column with a mysterious inscription - it is the "masseba" which lures him from evil to good. Tall succeeds in trapping the Leader in a net and puts him in a cage. Although wounded, he also wins a fight with the Man with the Iron Fans. Running away with Mulatto through endless corridors, the couple is helped by the Angel Girl who shows them the way out. Tall and Mulatto walk out into a bright sunny day and the only thing they can see in the endless space is a stone with signs chiselled into it.

Note

Masseba was the first Czech film provided with the Dolby Stereo system.

Film online

Cast

Karel Roden

Vysoký mladík

Victoria Kidane

Dívka mulatka

Vladimír Marek

Muž s vějíři

Radan Rusev

Muž s tyčí

Jana Dolanská

Žena pro všechny

Miloslav Štibich

Starší muž

Martin Dejdar

Zarostlý mladík

Vlastimil Venclík

Nenápadný muž

Sim Yong Hak

Asiat

Antonín Zacpal

Knihovník

Lenka Machoninová

Zpěvačka

Kateřina Blažková

Holčička - andílek

Martina Riedelbauchová

Petr Turek

Radovan Versigan

Václav Patka

Ladislav Lahoda

kaskadér

Petr Drozda

kaskadér

Dubbing

Eliška Sirová

hlas mulatky

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Kryštof Hanzlík

Assistant Director

Klaudie Hepnerová

Screenstory

Miroslav Vaic

Second Unit Photography

Martin Duba

Camera Operator

Milan Kopecký, Jan Smolík

Production Designer

Zbyněk Hloch

Set Designer

Vladimír Kvěch, Miloslav Dvořák

Costume Designer

Milan Knížák

Film Editor

Josef Valušiak

Special Effects

Jiří Šimunek

Titles Designed by

Miroslav Šnábl

Production Manager

Viktor Schwarcz

Unit Production Manager

Martina Petrů, Antonín Pražský, Olga Zelenská

Cooperation

Rudolf Kamenický (výroba sochy), Petr Javůrek, Jana Šimonová, Jiří Zobač, Juraj Ďurovič, Marika Kráčmarová, Martin Brych, J. Červený, Jiří Fraš, Z. Geri, Petr Pavlíček (2), Ladislav Kunzo, Jitka Zvirocká, Robert Vaněk

Music

Music Composed by

Pavel Dražan, Jan Paukert

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Josef Pech (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

Masseba

English Title

Masseba

Working Title

Pohled z okna

Copyright

1989

Production Year

1989

Premiere

01.04.1990

Creative Group

Jiří Blažek

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech