Archive of films The End of Berhof / Zánik samoty Berhof

Czechoslovakia / Poland
1983, 98 min

Section: Special Events
Year: 2019

The war is finally over but the atmosphere is still tense. Ulrika lives in a secluded spot in the mountains near the German border, condemned to coexist with her boorish father after her mother’s death. One day a German nun bursts into the house accompanied by three young Wehrmacht soldiers; she has to get them back home whatever the cost. The drama, which draws together characters variously deformed by circumstance, is compelling for its deliberately restrained direction, masterfully paced suspense, and its evocative depiction of an utterly bleak environment.


World War II may have come to an end but in the Czech-Polish-German border region life is still full of danger. Bands of Nazi guerrilla Werewolves are hiding out in the forest, waiting to get across the frontier into Germany. Along the way they force themselves upon the humble local farms, leaving a trail of corpses in their wake. Based on the novel of the same name, the film’s director avoids the usual period simplification, instead constructing a monumental tragedy of people in critical situations, concentrated into a few days and within the walls of a secluded mountain dwelling. Along with the farmer’s daughter Ulrika, the heroes here are Fear, Despair, Brutality and Destruction, yet ultimately also Mercy, the bringer of hope. The film’s sombre atmosphere is heightened by Smutný’s expressive lens and a mesmeric score.

Zdena Škapová

About the director

Jiří Svoboda (b. 1945, Kladno, Czechoslovakia) Selected filmography: A Motive for Murder (1974), Girl with a Shell (1980), The End of Berhof (1983), Scalpel, Please (1985), The Damned House of Hajn (1988), Family Matters (1990), The New Breed (2005), Beauty and the Beast 1950 (2010, TV film), Jan Hus (2015, TV film), Rašín (2018, TV film)


Národní filmový archiv
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Special Events
Director: Jiří Svoboda
Screenplay: Vladimír Körner
Dir. of Photography: Vladimír Smutný
Music: Jozef Revallo
Editor: Josef Valušiak
Art Director: Bogdan Mozer, Boris Moravec
Producer: Petr Čapek, Urszula Orczykowska
Production: Filmové studio Barrandov, PRF Zespoły Filmowe – Zespoół “Kadr”
Cast: Ladislav Křiváček, Jana Brejchová, Marek Probosz, Zbigniew Suszyński, Evelyna Steimarová, Milan Kňažko, Petronela Vančíková
Sales: Národní filmový archiv


Jiří Svoboda

Film Director

Tomáš Žůrek

Sales Agent

Vladimír Smutný

Director of Photography

Vladimír Körner



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