A collection of Hrabal’s short stories published in 1978 was used to create this tragicomic mosaic depicting the daily lives of several characters in the Central Bohemian town of Kersko, a place to which Hrabal had close ties.
Both the seasonal inhabitants of local holiday properties and Kersko natives meet for a pint in the Hájenka pub, whose owner Láďa Novák (Jiří Schmitzer) and his wife enjoy a tumultuous relationship comprised of affection and argument in equal measure. Good-natured Mr. Leli (Jaromír Hanzlík) keeps spending money on useless “bargains” that are gradually filling up his house and garden. Mr Liman (Bořík Procházka) drives his goats to pasture in a luxury car and plays the clarinet to them while they graze. The tranquillity of the hamlet is disturbed by a wild boar hunt which culminates in the animal being shot dead in the local school. The hunt trophy then becomes a point of contention between hunters’ associations from the two neighbouring villages. The rising tensions only dissipate when the schoolteacher (played by Libuše Šafránková) wisely suggests that they organise a joint feast for the two associations. The feast nevertheless ends up in a drunken brawl…
As with most of Hrabal’s stories, A Feast of Snowdrops, mixes poetry, absurdity and raw drama, including the death of the hapless Mr Leli. His surreal, needless departure is an isolated dark moment in the pattern of humour, playfulness and generosity that makes up both Hrabal’s literary template and Menzel’s film (the screenplay was a collaborative effort).
The cast of A Feast of Snowdrops includes popular actors (Petr Čepek, Rudolf Hrušínský, Josef Somr) and even some popular directors (Jiří Krejčík plays the fat, voracious Karel, while František Vláčil was cast as an old huntsman). Bohumil Hrabal also made a cameo appearance as a local man painstakingly emptying a cesspit.
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