Archive of films The Medal / Signum laudis

1980, 88 min

Section: Tribute to Martin Hollý (1931-2004)
Year: 2006

The tragic story of the fanatically obedient soldier Hoferik takes place at the Russian frontduring the last days of WW I. The film is a condemnation of the cruelty and senselessness of war.


This dramatic story is set on the battlefields of World War I. The filmmakers focused on the psychological depiction of various types of soldiers in the  Austro-Hungarian army. The main theme is the unambiguous condemnation of any kind of militarism. Corporal Hoferik, a devoted soldier used to unquestioning obedience, plays the dominant role. In a critical situation, he is the one who fails to understand reality; therefore, he is the one to be eliminated. Corporal Hoferik takes over command from the officers who died fighting on the Russian front where a cruel battle is raging. He drives the troops into attack solely to carry out an order, even despite senseless heavy losses. Once the attack is over, the regiment is moved well behind the front line. As a former horse-dealer, Hoferik knows very well how to ensure food and booze for his soldiers, exchanging rations for spirits with a Jew. The General Staff arrive at the homestead where the soldiers are billeted and General Berger is designated as the new commander. He decorates corporal Hoferik for his bravery and obedience with the military honour Signum Laudis, and he also offers him the position of custodian of the homestead. The soldiers’ hatred for Hoferik increases, yet they soon find themselves surrounded by the enemy. Upon Hoferik’s advice, General Berger orders the regiment in a direct assault on the enemy and a small group comprising the General Staff try to break the siege. Hoferik eventually takes over command. In order not to have the enemy find them, they have to kill the horses, a duty which Hoferik performs himself. In the end, the General Staff find that their chances of getting through the siege are minimal and, in order to survive, they have only one possibility: to surrender. However, they first have to get rid of the fanatical Hoferik.


National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Martin Hollý (1931-2004)
Director: Martin Hollý
Screenplay: Vladimír Kalina, Jiří Křižan
Dir. of Photography: František Uldrich
Music: Zdeněk Liška
Editor: Ivana Kačírková
Producer: Jaroslav Solnička
Production: Filmové studio Barrandov Praha, Slovenská filmová tvorba Bratislava
Cast: Vlado Müller, Josef Bláha, Ilja Prachař, Radovan Lukavský, Jiří Kodet, Oldřich Velen, Vítězslav Jandák, Jana Břežková
Contact: National Film Archive


Blažena Urgošíková

Film Institution Rep.


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