Birds, Orphans and Fools

Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni
Director: Juraj Jakubisko

Czechoslovakia, fantastic tragicomedy, 1969, 78 min

Three orphans - Yorick, Andrej and Marta - are in a cynical and hopeless world of violence and disillusionment. The youngsters hang out with with their leader and other orphans in an bombed-out church. They survive thanks only to their own foolishness – trying to play at freedom in a country that is not free, using an inner philosophy of joy and love. Despite all their carelessness, the main characters can't block out the pain of living in a war-torn country and after one of them is put in prison and returns a year later, everything seems to have changed and towards the end of story becomes tragic. “Birds Orphans and Fools” is a surreal and tragic comedy about three orphans who have lost their families in the war. This film reflects the hectic period of the Prague Spring and the Soviet invasion that followed in the summer of 1968.


1973 – Second Prize for film director Juraj Jakubisko at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival (France).

About the director:

One of the “Slovak New Wave” members, the Slovakian director Juraj Jakubisko (born in the former Czechoslovakia, in 1938) is often described as the Fellini of Eastern Europe. Before entering the film industry, J. Jakubisko taught still photography at a Bratislava Secondary school for applied arts. He later worked for Czech television in Kosice before attending Prague's Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU). After graduating in 1965, J. Jakubisko worked with Alfred Radok at the “Laterna Magika” theater in Prague and began winning international acclaim with his experimental short films before he made his first feature film, “The Prime of Life” (Kristove Roky, 1967). Following his feature debut, J. Jakubisko made two other features: “The Deserter and the Nomads” (Zbehovia a pútnici, 1968) and “Birds, Orphans and Fools” (Vtackovia, Siroty a Blazni, 1969). After that, he became side-tracked in the difficult period following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia J. Jakubisko was banned from feature filmmaking until 1980, when he presented a new feature film “Build a House, Plant a Tree” (Postav dom, zasaď strom, 1980). J. Jakubisko earned international acclaim with the epic “A Thousand-Year Old Bee” (Tisícročná včela, 1983). This film was an important event for the country – people of all ages went to see it in droves. Accentuating his Slovakian roots, J. Jakubisko managed to capture the poetry and the most beautiful colours behind an ordinary life.

Section: Films of the Golden Period: Slovak New Wave

Screenplay: Juraj Jakubisko, Karol Sidon

Dir. of Photography: Igor Luther

Music: Zdeněk Liška

Cast: Philippe Avron, Jiří Sýkora, Magda Vášáryová, Françoise Goldité, Míla Beran, Mikuláš Ladižinský, Jana Stehnová, Augustín Kubán