Frantíšek Pavlíček is often cited for the screenplay behind Václav Vorlíček’s hugely popular Tři oříšky pro Popelku (Three Nuts for Cinderella, 1973), but he should also be credited for the script devised for this fairytale picture directed by Antonín Kachlík in 1971 (although the name of the then banned director was substituted in the opening credits with that of his colleague Eva Košlerová). In Kachlík’s filmography, fairytale films are not a common sight, even though his last title was a production of Josef Lada’s amusing story O zatoulané princezně (The Lost Princess, 1987). The romantic atmosphere of Prince Bayaya is drawn from the writings of nineteenth century Czech fairytale legend Božena Němcová. The title character is an orphaned prince. During his wanderings around the world, he heeds the words of his talking horse. When the young man falls in love with the beautiful Princess Slavěna, his magic horse advises him to pretend to be a mute garden worker when he arrives at the royal court. Our lofty hero sticks to this alter ego even after defeating a wild dragon that endangers the kingdom. But in doing so he enables the treacherous Black Prince to force the rescued princess into testifying that it is he who is her saviour. Our hero, however, who has earned himself the nickname Bayaya because of the sounds he gasps as a mute, triumphantly overcomes all the other difficult tests that await him… Although, quite understandably, the dragons (designed by Vladimír Brehovszký and constructed by Bohumil Bednář) have a gimmicky appearance that falls far short of today’s exacting digital standards, Kachlík and his cameraman Jiří Macák nevertheless succeed in creating a fairytale aura. It is mostly derived from magical exteriors shot around Hrubá Skála. Whereas the title character has the face of Slovak actor Ivan Palúcha and the voice of Petr Štěpánek, Magda Vášáryová remains her pure self in playing the irresistible Princess Slavěna. The Black Prince is played by František Velecký. He had previously appeared by Vášáryová’s side as Mikuláš in František Vláčil’s historical drama Marketa Lazarová (for which, as it happens, Pavlíček wrote the screenplay in 1997). The experienced Petr Čepek lent his voice to Bayaya’s villainous adversary.
DAFilms.com is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.