Smugglers of Death (Král Šumavy)

Smugglers of Death
Program section: Czechoslovak Noir
Directed by: Karel Kachyňa
Year: 1959
Country: Československo
Length: 93 min.
Cast: Radovan Lukavský, Jiří Vala, Jiřina Švorcová, Jaroslav Marvan, Vladimír Menšík


  • 25. 8. 2023 | 11:15 - innogy Hall

The screening of David Ondříček’s miniseries The King of Šumava: The Phantom of the Dark Land at this year’s NFF opened up the possibility of including Karel Kachyňa’s adventure/psychological film infused with communist ideology in the programme. While Ondříček drew on David Jan Žák’s biographical novel The Return of the King of Šumava, based, among other things, on extensive telephone conversations with the King of Šumava himself, Josef Hasil, Kachyňa’s version combines the personal story of SNB officer Zeman (Jiří Vala), a rookie among the border guards patrolling the border with the then West Germany, with the search for a vicious smuggler who leads the refugees through a difficult landscape full of swamps and other pitfalls. One of the film’s strengths is its formal aspect, especially the cinematography of Josef Illik, who works with unconventional angles and produces a number of remarkable shots of artistic quality.

Veronika Zýková


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