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17 Nov 2019 20:00

The Beggar’s Opera - Film screening and discussion of the Velvet Revolution

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution Czech House Jerusalem in cooperation with the Embassy of Czech Republic and Cinematheque Jerusalem corially invites you to a special stage discussion followed by sceening of the movie The Beggar’s Opera.




20:00 stage discussion with Ambassador Martin Stropnický, Mrs. Veronika Stropnická and Mr. Robert Mikoláš

20:30 screening of the The Beggars’s Opera


The Beggar's Opera

Movie summary

This classic 1728 ballad opera by English dramatist John Gay has been adapted several times for both stage and screen. One such effort was a 1972 non-musical adaptation by Václav Havel. If we do not count a performance by Prague’s Divadlo na tahu theatre company, which occurred in 1975 without the knowledge of the police in the pub U Čelikovských in Horní Počernice. The official premiere of this version took place in June 1990. A year later, Jiří Menzel, who successfully staged Havel’s Žebrácká opera (The Beggar’s Opera) in Prague’s Činoherní klub, also planed the film version. The adaptation strongly sticks to its stage roots. The film tells the story of two competing criminal organisations. One is led by the villainous Peachum, the other by the equally wicked, but very charming, swindler Macheath. Peachum persuades his daughter Polly to create some personal ties at the rival organisation in order to find out the nature of their plans. Meanwhile, Macheath also seeks to use Polly – as a mole to find out about Peachum’s activities. He succeeds in this plan as the naive girl falls in love with her father’s nemesis. But “Mack” already has a wife: Lucy, the daughter of city police chief Lockit. Moreover, the crook’s real love is the cunning prostitute Jenny, who has no qualms about repeatedly betraying this man responsible for diverting her from a righteous career path. The story is set during the 1920s, and offers an entertaining moral about the dangers of the criminal intertwining of the state and underworld. The peculiar language used for the theatrical version is notably curtailed by the screenwriters – both Menzel and Václav Havel worked on writing the film adaptation. Menzel casts the film mostly with the actors from his theatrical version. Macheath is played by the elegant Josef Abrhám and Jenny by Libuše Šafránková. Peachum by Marián Labuda and  the role of Lockit is excellently played by Rudolf Hrušínský. One bonus for film viewers is a cameo appearance by distinguished British actor Jeremy Irons in the role of a prisoner.





*Thanks to Ivan Hajoš for translations and preparation of the hebrew subtitles.





Cinematheque Jerusalem, Hebron Rd. 11, Jerusalem


17 Nov 2019 20:00


Czech Centre

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