Archive of films Empties / Vratné lahve

Czech Republic / United Kingdom / Denmark
2007, 104 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2007

Teacher Tkaloun goes into retirement, but instead of a peaceful family life he chooses a part-time job in a supermarket at the empty bottles counter. The exciting new world that he creates there however leaves less and less room for his wife, Eliška – and she of course has no intention of getting used to it. This bitter-sweet comedy by Oscar-winning duo Jan and Zdeněk Svěrák tells of the options one has for staying in circulation.


School Czech teacher Josef Tkaloun finds that he doesn’t get any pleasure out of work any more and goes into retirement. Being a man full of humour and playful energy however, he is not content to spend the autumn of his days in the uneventful bosom of his family. He therefore finds a part-time job in a supermarket at the counter for returnable bottles. Within this job, and particularly among his workmates and customers, he makes a small but functional world over which he has effortless control, but from which he excludes his wife Eliška more and more. While Tkaloun is inconspicuously helping others to find their perfect partner, including his daughter Helenka, his own marriage of many years is falling apart before his eyes. His upcoming 40th wedding anniversary becomes an opportunity to make up with the hurt and justifiably angry Eliška, but also an occasion for blustery and comic confrontations... and maybe even reconciliation of a sort… Another joint project by Oscar-winning duo Jan Svěrák and Zdeněk Svěrák, Empties is an intelligent, sophisticated bitter comedy about an ageing man for whom going into retirement means a challenge to finally come of age.

About the director

Jan Svěrák (b. 1965, Žatec) is one of the most internationally successful contemporary Czech directors thanks to his wily graduate documentary Oil Gobblers (1988 – Student Oscar) and the tragicomedy Kolya (1996 – Oscar for Best Foreign Film, nomination for a BAFTA Award, and a European Film Award, among others). He is the son of actor and screenwriter Zdeněk Svěrák, with whom he has collaborated right from his debut – The Elementary School (1991 – Oscar nomination). They also worked together on the war movie Dark Blue World (2001). Jan Svěrák studied documentary direction at FAMU (1988) and has demonstrated his interest in confronting the Hollywood mainstream in an original way with his documentary Space Odyssey II (1986), among others. His filmography as a director however also includes the action comedy Accumulator 1 (1994), the road movie The Ride (1994 – Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary IFF), and a documentary film about his father, Papa (2004).


Biograf Jan Svěrák s.r.o.
Nad vinohradem 250/1, 147 00, Praha 4
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 244 468 100
Fax: +420 244 467 094

Falcon a.s.
Radlická 1c/3185, 150 00, Praha 5
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 224 422 244
Fax: +420 224 422 240

Portobello Pictures Ltd.
12 Addison Avenue, Holland Park, W11 4QR, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 605 1396
Fax: +44 207 605 1391

About the film

Color, 35 mm
International premiere

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: Jan Svěrák
Screenplay: Zdeněk Svěrák
Dir. of Photography: Vladimír Smutný
Music: Ondřej Soukup
Editor: Alois Fišárek
Producer: Jan Svěrák, Eric Abraham
Production: Biograf Jan Svěrák s.r.o.
Cast: Zdeněk Svěrák, Daniela Kolářová, Tatiana Vilhelmová, Jiří Macháček, Pavel Landovský, Jan Budař, Miroslav Táborský, Nela Boudová
Contact: Biograf Jan Svěrák s.r.o., Falcon a.s., Portobello Pictures Ltd.
Distributor: Falcon a.s.


Jan Svěrák

Film Director / Producer

Zdeněk Svěrák


Jiří Macháček


Jan Budař

Actor, Actor

Pavel Landovský


Ivan G´Vera

Film Crew, Film Crew

Eric Abraham


Václav Šašek


Christian Husum


Alois Fišárek

Film Editor

Kate McCullagh

Sales Agent

Miroslav Táborský

Actor, Actor

Jan Bradáč

Distributor, Cinema Representative, Producer

Svatava Peschková



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