The popular play, staged at the Brno theatre Divadlo Husa na provázku (The Goose On the String Theatre), depicts the efforts of a medieval jester to entertain a despotic and bored queen. However, in the film the impressive theatrical allegory about how an artist relates to power serves only as a basis for the dreams imagined by the lonely castle custodian Jaryn Slach. The castle is visited by a rich elderly German accompanied by his spouse Regina, who it turns out is indistinguishable from Slach’s dream lover. The foreigner does not recall any “common history”, but out of boredom she agrees to play a game similar to that which the dream queen plays with her jester. The distinction between the dreams and reality begins to fade: miserable “jester” Slach once again becomes the victim of a capricious woman who plays with his feelings and life… In terms of form, Chytilová’s feature functions as a collage, though in some of the scenes the original theatrical stylisation of Polívka’s performance is held to (the author acted as an assistant director during a recording of the performance in 1985). The contemporary framework offers the director another opportunity to tell the story of the tricky, tragicomic relations between men and women. But the point of view provided by the male character (brought to the narration by Polívka as an author) provides new possibilities for interpreting what is one of Chytilová’s most crucial themes.
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