Karel Steklý, 1973

Film at Filmový přehled


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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Film data

About a film

Production year 1973
Countries Czechoslovakia
Categories film
Genres political, satire
Form feature
Duration 95 min
Director Karel Steklý
Cast Oldo Hlaváček, Helga Čočková, Svatopluk Matyáš, Helena Blehárová, Miroslav Homola
Director of photography František Uldrich
Screenplay Karel Steklý
Editor Jan Kohout
Production designer Věra Líznerová
Artist Vladimír Dvořák
Music Jaromír Klempíř
Sound designer Jiří Hora, Antonín Jedlička