Archive of films Invention for Destruction / Vynález zkázy

1958, 84 min

Section: Out of the Past
Year: 2015

Anyone who watches this poetic, romantic and naivist adaptation of Verne’s novel Face au drapeau (Facing the Flag) will immediately succumb to its unique magic. They will also quickly understand why this work is still the most successful film in the country’s history, winning a series of prestigious international awards, and why it was selected as a cinematic masterpiece for the digital restoration programme.


Little remained of the story which inspired Zeman’s film, Jules Verne’s famous novel Face au drapeau (Facing the Flag): perhaps only the rocky island in the middle of the ocean, the mysterious submarine and the strange world beneath the sea... And, of course, its most important aspects – the suspense, the sense of adventure, the excitement of a struggle between noble objectives and base intentions, and the spectacle of those wonderful inventions. At a time when teams of specialists would be working together to create special effects, Zeman and a friend cut grooves into a paint roller and covered all the sets and costumes with stripes resembling the hatching in the beguiling period illustrations of Verne’s novels. Even the best special-effects films soon become dated, whilst Zeman’s, whose artistic beauty, gentle gags and playful invention were created on a shoestring, are as appealing for the modern audience as they were almost sixty years ago. In its digitised version the film will look even more delightful, especially when the pretty castaway starts ironing her dress down below deck using a hot cannon ramrod...

Zdena Škapová

The digital restoration of Invention for Destruction is part of the three-year project Restoring the World of Fantasy carried out by the Czech Film Foundation, the Karel Zeman Museum, and Czech Television. The Czech Film Foundation secured funding, which included a contribution from the Czech Ministry of Culture. Ludmila Zemanová participated in the restoration.

About the director

Karel Zeman

Karel Zeman (1910, Ostroměř – 1989, Zlín, Czechoslovakia) was a Czech film director, artist, pupeteer and animator. After his post-war successes with the character Mr Prokouk, and with both glass (Inspiration, 1949) and cutout animation (A Treasure of Bird Island, 1952), he dazzled the film world with his special-effects masterpiece Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955). The movie magus then sealed his reputation with a series of feature films in which he conveyed the charm of naivety and the immortality of dreams, ideals, and venerable heroic deeds via artistic stylisation. In addition to Invention for Destruction, the director also created the internationally acclaimed films The Outrageous Baron Munchausen (1961), Two Years’ Vacation (1966) and On a Comet (1970). These were followed by the featuresThe Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1977) and The Tale of John and Mary (1980), created using cutout animation.


Muzeum Karla Zemana
Saská 3, 118 00, Praha
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 724 341 091
E-mail: [email protected]

Asociace českých filmových klubů
Stonky 860, 686 01, Uherské Hradiště
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 572 501 989
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, DCP
World premiere

Section: Out of the Past
Director: Karel Zeman
Screenplay: Karel Zeman, František Hrubín, Jiří Brdečka, Milan Vácha na motivy stejnojmeného románu Vynález zkázy / based on the novel Facing the Flag by Jules Verne
Dir. of Photography: Jiří Tarantík
Music: Zdeněk Liška
Editor: Zdeněk Stehlík
Art Director: Karel Zeman, Zdeněk Ostrčil, Josef Zeman, František Mádl, Vilém Janík
Producer: Zdeněk Novák, Jan Stráník
Production: Krátký film Praha, Studio loutkových filmů Gottwaldov
Cast: Lubor Tokoš, Arnošt Navrátil, František Šlégr, Miloslav Holub, Jana Zatloukalová, Václav Kyzlink
Sales: Muzeum Karla Zemana
Distributor: Asociace českých filmových klubů


Jakub Matějka

Distributor, Film Institution Rep.

Jan Jílek

Distributor, Festival Organizer

Ludmila Zemanová


Ctibor Pouba


Ludmila Urbanová

PR & Marketing

Martin Hůlovec


Radana Korená

Distributor, Festival Organizer

Eva Blažková

Festival Organizer, PR & Marketing

Radka Piskačová

PR & Marketing

Iva Hejlíčková

Festival Organizer

Michal Surma

Distributor, Festival Organizer


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