Archive of films The Barnabáš Kos Case / Prípad Barnabáš Kos
1964, 92 min
Section: Out of the Past
“Zeal, discipline and modesty” – these are the qualities that the bureaucratic machine takes into account when it decides to promote a triangle player to the position of orchestral director. Except, in the present case, “modesty” is equivalent to indifference and malleability. In this satire of the absurdities of life under socialism, Josef Kemr’s understated performance makes for a highly convincing characterisation of the anti-hero.
Peter Solan’s satire clearly shows that when combined with power, dilettantism is likely to destroy all creative endeavour. With this picture he joined filmmakers who, in the 1960s, dared to criticise the misguided practices that were a normal way of life in socialist Czechoslovakia. As in the short story by Peter Karvaš that inspired it, the film finds its “model collective” in the orchestra, whose rehearsals become an embarrassing farce thanks to its least important member – Barnabáš Kos, triangle player. After bureaucratic manoeuvring propels him to the post of ensemble director, the exploited eager beaver now enjoys status as the Great Reorganiser, championing the triangle as the principal instrument. While the film’s narrative style is largely still traditional, the scenes of absurdity align with the poetics of the New Wave.
About the director
Peter Solan (b. 1929, Banská Bystrica, Czechoslovakia – 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia). Selected filmography: The Boxer and Death (Boxer a smrť, 1962), Face in the Window (Tvár v okne, 1963), The Barnabáš Kos Case (1964), Before This Night Is Over (Kým sa skončí táto noc, 1965), Garden Full of Nappies (Záhrada plná plienok, 1980, TV film), About Fame and Grass (O sláve a tráve, 1984)
About the film
Black & white, DCP
|Section:||Out of the Past|
|Screenplay:||Peter Karvaš, Albert Marenčin|
|Dir. of Photography:||Tibor Biath|
|Art Director:||Mikuláš Vida|
|Production:||Štúdio hraných filmov Bratislava - Koliba|
|Cast:||Josef Kemr, Jarmila Košťová, Milivoj Uzelac, Josef Bartl, Ján Bzdúch, Hana Sarvašová, Viliam Polónyi, Eduard Grečner, Naďa Hejná, Dagmar Kákošová, Jaroslav Rozs|
|Sales:||Slovenský filmový ústav / Slovak Film Institute|
Film Institution Rep.