Karel Steklý, 1973



Hroch (The Hippo, 1973) is a noted example of a Czechoslovak filmmaker bending over backwards to show loyalty to the “normalisation” regime introduced after the Prague Spring events of 1968. Created by Karel Steklý in the dual role of director and screenwriter, this now legendary satire was intended to be an allegory of those occurrences. The focus of the narrative is a talking hippo, which is discovered in a local zoo by a nimble journalist. Once in the public sphere, the hippo is inveigled by deceitful and manipulative politicians who hope to use him for their own disgraceful ends. However, the villains are unaware that this unfortunate creature has merely swallowed whole a bank clerk named Bedřich Hroch (Oldo Hlaváček) who is enjoying his newfound popularity… This highly slanted film should now only be regarded as a study piece, at best offering insights into the mindset of its era. It was even regarded as dubious by contemporary “normalisers”, enough so that the film was removed from cinemas rather rapidly and was never allowed to appear on TV.
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About a film

film_production_year 1973
film_countries Czechoslovakia
film_genres political, satire
film_form feature
film_duration 95 min
film_director Karel Steklý
film_cast Oldo Hlaváček, Helga Čočková, Svatopluk Matyáš, Helena Blehárová, Miroslav Homola
film_director_of_photography František Uldrich
film_screenplay Karel Steklý
film_film_editor Jan Kohout
film_production_designer Věra Líznerová
film_art_director Vladimír Dvořák
film_music_composed_by Jaromír Klempíř
film_sound_designer Jiří Hora, Antonín Jedlička