The Defendant

The story of guilt, punishment, personal responsibility and the warning link between the ruling party and the judiciary on multiple levels referred to the political trials of the 1950s. The film by Jan Kadár and Elmar Klos was banned in 1969.

Czechoslovakia 1964
94 min.
  • This film is available until 31. 12. 2024 in these territories: Czechia, Slovakia.

The two directors recast the socialism-building dimension of the original novel by Lenka Hašková into a disturbing testimony on the reality of socialism – which in 1969 was irrevocably doomed to end under the censor’s lock and key. The protagonist of this story set in a courtroom is Kudrna, a hard-working honourable director of a hydroelectric power station. Under pressure from his superiors, he has made the greatest possible effort to put the new hydro plant into operation as soon as possible. His subordinates, however, have taken this as an opportunity to steal assets, resulting in one employee hanging himself. The innocent Kudrna’s trial reveals the abuse of law and how the ruling party and the justice system are interwoven… Shining in the title role of this excellently conceived film is the then not very well known Slovak actor Vlado Müller. Kudrna’s lawyer is performed by the emerging Jiří Menzel and the public prosecutor is played by an excelling Miroslav Macháček.

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Director: Elmar Klos, Ján Kadár
Based on: Lenka Hašková
Screenplay: Vladimír Valenta, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos
Cinematography: Rudolf Milič
Music: Zdeněk Liška
Sound: Miloš Alster
Editing: Jaromír Janáček
Production Design: Boris Moravec
Producer: Ladislav Hanuš
Costumes: Zdena Šnajdarová, Ludmila Kaválková, Marie Rosenfelderová
Cast: Vlado Müller, Zora Jiráková, Martin Štěpánek, Jiří Menzel, Jaroslav Blažek, Pavel Bártl, Milan Jedlička, Miroslav Macháček

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

1964 – Elmar Klos, Ján Kadár (Grand Prix – Crystal Globe)

  • This film is available until 31. 12. 2024 in these territories: Czechia, Slovakia.