Yesterday a new film called Operation Danube entered Czech cinemas. An epic Polish-Czech film is a debut of a Polish director Jacek Głomb and its posters read: When going to a pub, take a tank. A comedy taking place on 21 August 1968 could not get a better subhead as it nicely reflects the lively atmosphere of the film. The film takes advantage of famous names and an easy plot that can be best described as “holiday-occupational”.
Operation Danube is a Polish film in spite of a number of Czech actors in the roles of buoyant Czech pub regulars, whose pub is demolished by a lost Polish tank Beruška (Ladybird) during a celebration held by a local retiring train dispatcher. You can see Rudolf Hrušínský, Bolek Polívka, Jiří Menzel (who also undertook the “artistic supervision” of the film), Jaroslav Dušek, Jan Budař and Eva Holubová.
Director Jacek Głomb has until now worked as a theatre director in Polish Legnica. His film debut is based on a very successful theatre play inspired by an anecdote about a lost tank that he prepared with the theatre in 2006. The film is now heading for the film screen as a co-production with the Czech company In Film.
“Humorous” approach to the invasion of the former Warsaw pact army into Czechoslovakia underwent a number of changes under the production of Włodzimierz Niderhaus, Marius Lukomski and a Czech Rudolf Biermann. Scriptwriters Jacek Konradcki, Robert Urbanski and Jacek Głomb admitted right at the start that the Czech audience would not get the hyperbole of this tragicomedy in its original form since it was build from the great part on Polish wordplays and hints that would not work in Czech environment.
Głomb mainly took advantage of action and popular situational humour that he mainly left to the main protagonists led by Jaroslav Dušek, Eva Holubová and Bolek Polívka who wrote some of the dialogues to suit them. The dilemma of the regulars as to what to do with the broken tank and the occupants is not only disrupted by the locals’ good-naturedness (they are characterised mainly by their desire for a cold lager and a goulash with dumplings) but also by flirtation of two of the Polish soldiers with a couple of local girls. “History isn’t as black and white as they tell us in schools,” Głomb said.