The Jester and the Queen

  • Czech Republic
Audio Tracks

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.



  • Original title
    Šašek a královna
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Boleslav Polívka, Věra Chytilová
  • Cast
    Bolek Polívka, Chantal Poullain-Polívková, Jiří Kodet, Vlastimil Brodský, Jiří Pecha, Vladimír Leraus
  • DOP
    Jan Malíř
  • Editing
    Jiří Brožek
  • Music
    Jiří Bulis
  • Sound
    Karel Martínek
  • Duration
    112 min (91+ min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Czech Republic
  • Colour
    • Colour
  • Distribution
      • Národní filmový archiv
      • Malešická 12
      • 130 00 Praha 3
      • Czech Republic
      • web:
      • tel: +420 271 770 500
      • fax: +420 271 770 501
      • e-mail:
  • Awards
    • Cena za nejlepší herecký výkon, Hlavní cena Zlatý prim, 10. festival české a slovenské filmové veselohry Nové Město nad Metují
    • Prémie Českého literárního fondu za herecký výkon ve filmu, Prémie Českého literárního fondu za režii filmu
    • Cena Československé filmové kritiky za rok 1987, Cena Vladislava Vančury, 39. filmový festival pracujících
    • Cena Filmového klubu Brno, Cena za hudbu, 26. festival českých a slovenských filmů Brno
    • Grand Prix, 10. mezinárodní filmové dny Orléans


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