Archive of films I Served the King of England / Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále

Czech Republic
2006, 120 min

Section: Czech Films 2006-2007
Year: 2007

The legendary novel by Bohumil Hrabal is brought to the silver screen in what is now the sixth Hrabal project by experienced Jiří Menzel. In his story of “little big man” Jan Dítě, swept up in the storm of Central European history, he retains the poetic style of the original while sustaining its audience appeal. The film won four Czech Lions (including Best Film and Best Direction) and was screened in competition at this year’s Berlin IFF, where it won the FIPRESCI prize.


In the early 1960s, aging Jan Dítě is released from Communist prison, where he spent almost 15 years for “being a millionaire”. He settles in the Sudeten region working as a roadmender and reflects upon his former life… Diminutive Dítě works his way up from selling sausages to being hired as a waiter in a pub, he then moves on to the Tichota and Paříž hotels; he is taught the skills of his trade by head waiter Skřivánek, who once served the King of England. Dítě is then given the chance to serve the Abyssinian emperor and receives a medal from him. His dream of owning a luxury establishment and finding a wife paradoxically comes true thanks to his collaboration with the Nazis. After the triumph, however, comes the inevitable fall, yet this brings with it a sense of mature wisdom. In what is now his sixth Hrabal adaptation, Jiří Menzel tells the story of the “little big man” who somehow always manages to avoid the hazardous pitfalls of Central European history. The director retains the poetic style of the original while sustaining its audience appeal. The film received four Czech Lion awards (for Best Film, Direction, Photography and Best Supporting Actor – Martin Huba). It aslo won the FIPRESCI prize at this year’s Berlin IFF.

About the director

Jiří Menzel (b. 1938, Prague) is a key figure of the Czech New Wave who has retained his immense popular and artistic appeal, a fact which has led to a series of awards (e.g. a Czech Lion in 1997 for Lifetime Achievement, the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema at the KVIFF in 2003). He made his international mark chiefly through his adaptations of works by Bohumil Hrabal: a tale from the film Pearls of the Deep, 1965, his feature debut Closely Observed Trains, 1966 – Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Larks on a String, 1969 – cinema distribution in 1990 – Golden Bear and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin IFF in 1990, Cutting It Short, 1980, The Snowdrop Festival, 1983 and I Served the King of England, 2006. He achieved great popularity for his comedies Seclusion near a Forest, 1976 and  My Sweet Little Village, 1985.


AQS a.s.
Na Klikovce 7/367, 140 00, Praha 4
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 221 436 100
Fax: +420 221 436 105

Magic Box - division Bioscop
Na Klikovce 7, 140 00, Praha 4
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 221 436 255
Fax: +420 221 436 305

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Czech Films 2006-2007
Director: Jiří Menzel
Screenplay: Jiří Menzel
Dir. of Photography: Jaromír Šofr
Music: Aleš Březina
Editor: Jiří Brožek
Producer: Robert Schaffer, Andrea Metcalfe
Production: AQS a.s.
Cast: Oldřich Kaiser, Ivan Barnev, Julia Jentsch, Martin Huba, Marián Labuda, Milan Lasica, Josef Abrhám, Jiří Lábus, Jaromír Dulava, Pavel Nový
Contact: AQS a.s., Magic Box - division Bioscop
Distributor: Magic Box - division Bioscop


Jiří Menzel

Film Director

Andrea Metcalfe


Jiří Brožek

Film Editor

Robert Schaffer


Stefanie Zeitler


Thorsten Schaumann

Thorsten Ritter

Irena Prokopová



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