HOŘÍ, MÁ PANENKO

The Czech bitter comedy Fire, My Doll from 1967 is the third feature film by Milos Forman, one of the leading representatives of the so-called new wave of Czech film. Ivan Passer and Jaroslav Parrotek collaborated on the picture. The cameraman today was the world famous Miroslav Ondříček. The script, dialogues and whole treatment is based on the real experience of the authors from the vrchlabi fire ball, which they attended to find lost inspiration in writing the script for a completely different film.

The acting of non-actors and scenes such as the stolen raffle or the failed choice of a beauty queen remain prominent symbols of the 1960s atmosphere in Czechoslovakia and a picture of the tragicomic smallness of the time. The film was produced in a Czechoslovakian-Italian co-production with the participation of the famous Italian producer Carlo Ponti. The budget of $80,000 was very high by Czech standards and made it possible to shoot in color, among other things. Ponti, however, disliked Forman’s sarcastic tone, withdrew from the project and demanded his money from the Czechoslovakian state film back, officially due to non-compliance with the contract. He is said to have ordered a 75-minute film and received a film only 73 minutes long. Forman was facing a court charge with a possible 10-year sentence for “damaging socialist property.” He saved the day by buying foreign rights from French pro-ducent Claude Berri. He paid for Forman’s debt to Czechoslovakian state film and also secured screenings of the film worldwide. In 1968, he closed The Fire, my doll of the American New York Film Festival. Based on this screening, the picture was nominated for an Oscar in the same year.
Fire, my doll is primarily a comedy about the decline of values, stupidity and arrogance. The sarcasm of the script is fierce, full of empty phrases, human figurines, stereotypes, selfish old men who hold power over a world whose picturesque image is the hall of a cultural house and the whole course of a fireman’s ball. Those who are supposed to save lives are failing miserably because of their insensitivity and selfishness.
“The main character in the dramatization is prom. Prom as a cultural ritual, as a picture of the world. We play this image all over the theatre area, regardless of the boundaries between the audience and the actors. The reason to bring Forman’s brilliant story to the stage right now, I see above all, is that the power of incompetent old men is once again beginning to assert itself around us, that our lives are beginning to be destroyed again by those who are supposed to save us,” Tomáš Svoboda, author of the stage adaptation and director of the production.
Theatre Na Fidlovačce includes this piece on the repertoire in a theatrical adaptation by Tomáš Svoboda, who moves the theme genre and stages it as a musical comedy. At the same time, it is based on the acting improvisation and talents of precisely cast actors like Pavel Nový, Zdeněk Maryška, Pavel Kikinchuk and others.
9.11.2023 19:00 Premiere
JK

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