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Cubs (1958)

Stenata (original title)
Cubs explores young adults' fears of being conscripted by the communist government into working -against their will- outside of Prague, a relative oasis of creativity and freedom of thought.


Ivo Novák


Cast overview, first billed only:
Rudolf Jelínek ... Ota Josíf
Jaroslava Panýrková Jaroslava Panýrková ... Hanka Havelková
Jan Pivec ... Ota's father
Blanka Waleská ... Ota's mother
Jana Brejchová ... Marie Marková
Zuzana Stivínová Zuzana Stivínová ... Vera
Ivan Palec Ivan Palec ... Karel
Jirí Sehnal Jirí Sehnal ... Viktor
Vladimír Mensík ... Václav Hampl
Bohus Záhorský ... Director of medical school
Otomar Krejca ... Deputy of minister
Milos Kopecký ... Magistrate
Radovan Lukavský ... Foreman
Milos Nesvadba ... Viktor's bedfellow
Frantisek Vnoucek Frantisek Vnoucek ... Magistrate
Learn more

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Cubs explores young adults' fears of being conscripted by the communist government into working -against their will- outside of Prague, a relative oasis of creativity and freedom of thought.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

User Reviews

"A woman is a constant change,And that I cannot change,not even with my song!"
4 June 2019 | by morrison-dylan-fanSee all my reviews

Over the Christmas 2018/New Year period I tried to pick up every Czech Flick that I stumbled on. Despite Oscar Winning auteur Milos Forman being the co-writer/ first assistant director,I was surprised to find no review anywhere for this feature,which led to me taking the cubs for a walk.

Note:Some spoilers in review.

The plot:

Told in post-WWII Czechoslovakia after graduating from Secondary Nursing School that she has to move away from Prague and work in a poorer part of the country, Hanka Havelkova decides to get married to her long-time boyfriend Ota Josif,in the hope that that this will allow them to stay together in the city. Told after getting married by the local Ministry of Health official that he does not accept it and that Hanka must move away, Ota decides to try keep Hanka in hiding in his bedroom.

View on the film:

Stepping out when the French New Wave (FNW) was on the cusp of being in full flow, co-writer/director Ivo Novak closely works with co-writer/first assistant director Milos Forman & cinematographer Jan Novak in criss-crossing the fluidity of FNW with the earthy stylisation of the oncoming Czech New Wave. Tracking the youths of the city running away from the orders of elders, Novak and Forman step in time with glittering,reflective motifs of feet running and winding slides down long staircases.

Dancing in the buzzing Jazz clubs, Novak and editor Jan Kohout hit notes of crystallised match-cuts,which capture the anxiety and fear gripping Hanka and Ota in the shadows where they hide. Inspired by the real life push of the communist government to send people against their will to work in poorer parts of the country, the screenplay by Novak and Forman weave a New Wave-style collage pulled on the attempts made by each recent graduate to remain in Prague. Closing in on Ota and Hanka as their options become limited, the writers keep the romance nicely understated, where instead of dipping into Melodrama, they remain focused and calculated over averting the elders attempts to tear them apart.

Fresh faced from having just graduated, Jaroslava Panyrkova gives a exquisite performance as Hanka Havelkova, brimming with the cool confidence of a New Wave darling, but also a sharp brittleness over holding her love for Ota together, whilst trying to not make a sound when in hiding. Finding himself at the deep end of the romance, Rudolf Jelinek gives a fantastic turn as Ota Josif, via balancing a out-going attitude when hanging out with Hanka, with a growing anxiety over the elders stopping the cubs from being free.

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Release Date:

21 March 1958 (Czechoslovakia) See more »

Also Known As:

Cubs See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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