The Pass

Country

Czechoslovakia, Poland

Copyright

1989

Production year

1988

Premiere

1 January 1990

Runtime

101 min

Category

film

Genre

historical, psychological

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Kainovo znamení

Czech title

Kainovo znamení

English title

The Pass

Parallel title

Czarny wąwóz

Working title

Soutěska / Život za podpis

Summary

Acclaimed Polish director Janusz Majewski was also involved in a number of Czech and Polish co-productions. In addition to Dvojí svět hotelu Pacifik (Behind the Scenes at the Pacific Hotel, 1975) and Slaná růže (Salty Rose, 1982), he also directed Kainovo znamení (The Pass, 1989), a historical drama that takes place during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. The protagonist of the story is student Ludvík Machl (Polish actor Olaf Lubaszenko dubbed in Czech by Antonín Navrátil) who is paying the price for agreeing under pressure to collaborate with the secret police. Initially a proponent of revolutionary ideals, the youth is forced to snoop on behalf of the Austrian intelligence service, something which gradually costs him his family, friends, love and dignity. The narrative resonates with the contemporary political situation: screenwriter Vladimír Körner originally penned his short novel Život za podpis (Life Against Signature) as a reminder of the fates of all those who had been forced to collaborate with the secret police.

Synopsis

The year is 1866. Prussians declared war on Austria. A Prussian sergeant gives a noose to the young Ludvík Machl to carry out the death sentence on himself. The student Machl became, some time ago, a member of a conspirator group. He took part in a robbery and, after they arrested him, he spent some time in prison and was forced to inform upon his patriotic schoolmates. But his espionage mission is revealed and the restrained Machl is sent to the Silesian border. In a solitary house, he lives with the superior captain Truxa, the Polish earl Rozinsky and the pretty landlady, Kitty. Truxa sends Machl to the other side of the border to meet a connection from Wroclaw. Ludvík is surprised; the connection is a Polish painter, Roman, who was sentenced for the same robbery to 5 years in prison. He tells him that everything was just a police game, thanks to which he became an Austrian spy. The agent Roman asks Ludvík to bring his painting to his family in Poland in case Roman dies. During an inspection, captain Truxa is badly injured by a Prussian patrol, but the earl saves him. Kitty is Truxa's lover. Even though Ludvík sleeps with her, he doesn't get caught up in her provocations. The commissar Melc, who came from Prague, complains to Truxa that he did not yet get plans of the Prussian general staff. Ludvík finds out that his family house was burnt down and his father died there. Machl and Truxa find Roman with his throat cut and the plans of the Prussian campaign. Prussians are drawing off around the borders. Truxa leaves with Kitty to report personally to marshal Benedek, the commander in-chief of the Austrian army. He writes a letter of recommendation to the police, which he gives to Ludvík. After he leaves, the earl opens it. There is no recommendation but a suggestion to Ludvik's execution. Now the student first understands - the earl cut Roman's throat and forged the plans. The earl works for the Prussians, in the hope that will be given freedom to Poland. In the woods, they are attacked by Prussians crossing the border. They shoot the earl by mistake. The successor of the throne, who is in charge of the army, grants the earl a posthumous honour and orders the execution of Ludvík as a spy. Ludvík gives Roman's paintings to the Polish general of the successor's army. The general says the paintings are just low-grade copies. Ludvík Machl is putting on the noose. 3rd of July, 1866 the Prussian army wins the battle at Sadová - one of the bloodiest battles of the 19th century.

Cast

Olaf Lubaszenko

Dubbing Antonín Navrátil
Ludvík Machl

Petr Čepek

kapitán Truxa

Michał Pawlicki

Dubbing Bohumil Švarc
hrabě Rożyński

Anna Majcher

Dubbing Eliška Sirová
hospodyně Kitty

Adam Ferency

Dubbing Alois Švehlík
malíř Roman Zalewski

Sabina Laurinová

Lotka, Ludvíkova dívka

Jan Přeučil

policejní komisař Melc

Jiří Kodet

policejní komisař Lottes

František Staněk

Albín Böhm, Ludvíkův přítel

Daniel Landa

Klement Kubr, Ludvíkův přítel

Jiří Němeček

ředitel Kleibl, Lotčin otec

Miriam Kantorková

bytná Hroudová

Marta Richterová

prostitutka Andula

Ivo Niederle

přednosta stanice

Lubomír Kostelka

vládní rada

Hana Militká

žena v košili

Václav Bouška

Dubbing Ferdinand Krůta
hlídač tiskárny

Václav Kotva

veřejný posluha

Jan Kraus

sklepník

Oldřich Velen

policejní rada

Anna Garwolińska

mladá pašeračka

Zdeněk Srstka

bachař Rotler

Marek Bargiełowski

inspektor

Karel Sekera

vousatý seržant

František Michálek

člen pruské hlídky

Jan Piotr Pawłowski

pruský generál

Bołeslaw Abart

pruský generál

J. Trnka

mladý voják

Petr Záruba

chodec

Eugeniusz Kujawski

pruský generál

Borys Marynowski

pruský následník trůnu

Andrzej Mrozek

adjutant následníka trůnu

Andrzej Bielski

Jan Blecki

Miloš Haken (2)

jezdec na koni

Marek Idziński

Mieczysław Janowski

Andrzej Kowalik

Jan Mateusz Nowakowski

Václav Fugner

hudebník

Stanislav Halbich

hudebník

Jaroslav Hrdina

hudebník

František Maximovič

hudebník

Ctibor Mestek

hudebník

Karel Sommer

hudebník

M. Urban

hudebník

Slavomil Vrzal

hudebník

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Paweł Maria Dolewski, Aleš Dospiva

Assistant Director

Jana Goetzová, Renata Jederová

Shooting Script

Janusz Majewski

Script Editor

Martin Bezouška

Director of Photography

Richard Valenta

Second Unit Photography

Karel Hejsek

Camera Operator

Jiří Zavřel, Bronisław Stasiowski

Set Designer

Adam Filippoto, Rudolf Beneš, Zdeněk Jeřábek, Stanisław Korytkowski, Aleš Liška, Jerzy Radziwoń, Richard Staněk, Jerzy Sajko, Milan Šveňha

Costume Designer

Jan Kropáček

Sound Designer

Jiří Kříž, Stanisław Piotrowski, Bogusław Nowak (zvukové efekty)

Production Manager

Miroslav Dousek, Zygmunt Król

Unit Production Manager

Irena Koucká, Lidia Gibas-Ber, Bożena Dąbrowska-Groszek, Rudolf Mos

Unit Production Manager

Witold Czarnowski, Jolanta Czyżewska, Zofia Bancerska, Adolf Hickl, Barbara Chmielewska

Cooperation

Zdeněk Maur, Danuta Węgrzyn, Pavlína Křepelková, Małgorzata Przedpełska, Jan Graboś, Igor Hamko, Zdenek Sirový, Roman Vácha

Music

Music Composed by

Jerzy Matuszkiewicz

Selected Music

Ludwig van Beethoven (Yorkshire Marsch), Česká beseda

Music Performed by

Posádková hudba Československé lidové armády (Music Conducted by Petr Stříška), Vltavanka

Production info

Original Title

Kainovo znamení

Czech Title

Kainovo znamení

English Title

The Pass

Parallel Title

Czarny wąwóz

Working Title

Soutěska / Život za podpis

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

historical, psychological

Origin country

Czechoslovakia, Poland

Copyright

1989

Production Year

1988

Production specifications

start of filming 6 September 1988
end of filming 24 November 1988
the first film copy approved 24 May 1989
projection approval 16 November 1989

Premiere

premiere 1 January 1990

Creative Group

2. tvůrčí skupina, Josef Císař (vedoucí 2. tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

101 min

Original length in metres

2 969 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