Beneath Badger Rock

Václav Gajer, 1978



By combining the mountainous Šumava region’s natural beauty with the adventures of a boy from Prague visiting his gamekeeper grandpa, director Václav Gajer created a film trilogy that has appealed to successive generations. In all three films, Pod Jezevčí skálou (Beneath Badger Rock, 1978), Na pytlácké stezce (On the Poacher’s Path, 1979) and Za trnkovým keřem (Behind the Blackthorn, 1980), little Vašek spends his time off school with grandpa Straka. In the first picture, realised by the director after an eight-year gap enforced in response to his “incorrect” political opinions, the protagonists deal with the strained relationship between Straka and his son, Vašek’s father, that has lasted for years. The gamekeeper has been having a hard time coming to terms with his son leaving his native region for the city to build an independent existence. Straka’s stubbornness has gone so that he has remained ignorant of his grandson. However, doctors order Vašek to convalesce in the countryside following an illness, thus forcing Straka to admit the untamed little intruder into his tranquil life. The little “patient” is transported by Straka’s daughter-in-law Jarmila, who is clearly uneasy about what lies ahead. However, the grumpy ageing man and the unrestrained boy quickly develop a loving bond. Vašek also falls for his grandpa’s dachshund Brok, who provides the story’s tense climax by skirmishing with a badger in its den… Screenwriter Josef Pohl and director Gajer ensured the opening Šumava adventure of Vašek provided the viewer with plenty of entertainment and education. The experienced Rudolf Milič took care of the cinematography despite, along with his team, having to endure the hardships of a Šumava winter. Vašek’s part went to popular child actor Tomáš Holý (1968–1990) and the boy’s grandfather was played by Slovak actor Gustáv Valach. Of course, both stars appeared in the two sequels, alongside Jana Brejchová who performs the role of the mother. The final instalment of the film series finally sees the gamekeeper reconcile with his son (Ladislav Frej).
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About a film

film_production_year 1978
film_countries Czechoslovakia
film_genres children
film_form feature
film_duration 74 min
film_director Václav Gajer
film_cast Gustáv Valach, Tomáš Holý, Jana Brejchová, Josef Vinklář, Zdeněk Buchvaldek
film_director_of_photography Rudolf Milič
film_screenplay Václav Gajer, Josef Pohl
film_film_editor Josef Dobřichovský
film_production_designer Miroslav Hrachovec
film_music_composed_by Luboš Sluka
film_sound_designer Alexandr Vrbata