Archive of films May Fairy Tale / Pohádka máje
1926, 115 min
Section: Out of the Past
A lyrical tale of the pure, vernal romance between a diffident, somewhat naïve girl from a rural backwater and a fairly dissolute, but kind-hearted law student from Prague. The film debut of Jiří Voskovec, appearing under the pseudonym Petr Dolan, who plays student Ríša in Karel Anton’s bold adaptation of the impressionistic novel by Vilém Mrštík.
A lyrical tale of the pure, vernal love affair between a diffident, somewhat naïve girl from a rural backwater and a fairly dissolute, but kind-hearted law student from Prague. The film debut of Jiří Voskovec, appearing under the pseudonym Petr Dolan, who plays student Ríša in Anton’s bold adaptation of the impressionistic novel by Vilém Mrštík. “In May Fairy Tale Anton showed us what he was really capable of. Indeed, so many things, beginning with the fact that he was able to transform the most literary of romances into a film that keeps the audience firmly in their seats… He took the liberty of introducing several plot variations to this paradigm of sacrosanct national literature, in so doing convincing us of his cinematic vision and his ability to convey non-filmic subject matter in the most filmic way possible,” wrote Jiří Voskovec a few weeks after the film’s premiere. Rather than the rousing story, today’s viewers will be enchanted by Václav Vích’s stunning poetic camerawork, particularly the shots of the romantic landscape. The screening of a restored copy of this silent film is enhanced by live music from the band Neuvěřitelno.
About the director
Karel Anton (b. 1898, Prague – 1979, Berlin), thanks to his talent, intelligence and meticulous approach, had already become one of the most noteworthy Czech filmmakers by the beginning of the 1920s. He wrote screenplays, he directed and also occasionally acted in films as well. He was inspired by American slapstick, as apparent in the comedies Tutankhamen (1923) with Vlasta Burian in a debut role, and The Kidnapping of Fux the Banker (1923), starring Anny Ondráková. Anton was also prepared to adapt celebrated works of Czech literature: alongside Mácha’s Gypsies (1921), he also used Ignát Herrmann’s Father Kondelík and Bridegroom Vejvara (1926). In 1930 he went down in history for directing the first Czech sound film, Tonka of the Gallows. However, three years later, he would make his last film in his native country, The Devil in Me. The remainder of his work, consisting of more than 40 films, were German, and partly French, productions.
About the film
Black & white, 35 mm
|Section:||Out of the Past|
|Screenplay:||Václav Wasserman podle stejnojmenné novely / based on the novel of the same name by Vilém Mrštík|
|Dir. of Photography:||Václav Vích|
|Editor:||Ferdinand Kaňkovský, Anna Opplová, Anita Janová|
|Art Director:||Vilém Rittershain|
|Cast:||Ferdinand Kaňkovský, Anita Janová, Jarmila Horáková, Petr Dolan, Anna Opplová|
|Sales:||Národní filmový archiv|
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