Summer Spent with a Cowboy

Ivo Novák, 1976

Film at Filmový přehled


The most popular picture in Ivo Novák’s filmography was the holiday comedy Léto s kovbojem (Summer Spent with a Cowboy), which the experienced director made in 1976 on the basis of a book and screenplay by novelist Jaromíra Kolárová (1919–2006). She had previously worked on an adaptation of her book Holky z porcelánu (Girls from a Porcelain Factory) directed in 1974 by Juraj Herz and later collaborated with him on Zastihla mě noc (Caught by Night) (1985), a biographical drama about communist journalist Jožka Jabůrková. Within the framework of Kolárová’s three screenplays, the romance between young psychologist Doubravka and co-op cowherd Honza naturally has more in common with the narrative about the joys and sorrows of female employees at a porcelain warehouse. The screenwriter succeeded in combining the demands of Barrandov’s dramaturges for an engaged romance with a pure genre spectacle, giving rise to one of the few 1970s romantic comedies that still finds an audience today thanks to its intelligent hyperbole, laid-back summer atmosphere and impeccable casting. Unlike in later comedies of the style of Troška’s Slunce, seno… (Sun, Hay…) series, the Czech countryside did not serve Kolárová and Novák as a source of populist humour and bizarrely singular “bumpkin” characters. If anything, rather than the young man Honza (demoted from tractor driver to cowherd due to a drunken lapse), it is the visitors from the city who are subject to ironic distancing: the stiff, bespectacled Doubravka, her conservative family and her erratic, weak boyfriend Boba. Director Novák laconically comes to terms with the normalisation-era summer house syndrome, of necessity presenting the socialist countryside as a kind of flawless idyll. Honza’s vivacious directness and positivity thus come across as values that revive normal, ordinary relationships. Novák boosted the quality of his picture by cultivating the comedic potential of the duo of Jaromír Hanzlík and Daniela Kolářová. In other roles Oldřich Vízner impresses as Boba, as do Slávka Budínová as Honza’s peculiar mother and Marie Rosůlková and Dana Medřická as slightly dotty grandmothers.
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Film data

About a film

Production year 1976
Countries Czechoslovakia
Categories film
Genres comedy
Form feature
Duration 89 min
Director Ivo Novák
Cast Daniela Kolářová, Jaromír Hanzlík, Oldřich Vízner, Marie Rosůlková, Dana Medřická, Libuše Švormová
Director of photography Rudolf Milič
Screenplay Jaromíra Kolárová
Editor Miroslav Hájek
Production designer Jaroslav Krška
Music Petr Hapka
Sound designer Josef Vlček