Sands Films presents The Good Soldier Schwejk

Rotherhithe | Films

Another chance to watch The Good Soldier Schwejk, a satirical comedy adapted from the novel by Jaroslav Hašek, at Sands Films Studios. The film is just under two hours long.

Thursday, 15 August 2019 from 7.30pm to 9:30pm | Free, booking required and donations welcome.


It is very much by design that the subject of this film adaptation of Jaroslav Hašek’s novel “The adventures of the Good Soldier Schwejk” is a piece of theatre, a play with live music and a very present audience. After all, the first.appearance of the preposterous soldier Schwejk was in a cabaret sketch in Prague.

The Good Soldier Schwejk Logo

Enriched with Hašek’s own experience of World War One, and of the crumbling administration of the Hapsburg Empire, Schwejk became the legendary hero of Hašek’s sprawling novel. Soon, however, he was lured back to the theatre,.in Piscator’s version in Berlin (1928), in Joan Littlewood’s adaptation in Manchester 1939, London 1954 and Brecht’s reworking of 1943: always the theatre. Schwejk just won’t be parked in History. So here he is again, still in the theatre.

Maybe there just is no better way to put a point across than the immediacy of a live performance, where speech is king, always fleeting and always renewed, and where there can be such intimacy with the audience: the theatre.

But who is that Schwejk? A Czech soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, who is soon to outgrow the time and place of his creation, he has been described by some as a relation to Sancho Panza or Candide, by others as a symbol of common man, by himself as an idiot, an official idiot. He gets into all manner of scrapes, and out of them again, on the fringe of an incomprehensible war. He doggedly follows instructions with such zeal that their absurdity shines. He has a taste for extreme logic. Like common man, he is full of contradictions, and like common man, he has a stubborn resistance to injustice.

Appropriated after Hasek’s death by Josef Lada, the illustrator of the novel, (and by later mythology) Schwejk took the cartoonish shape of his creator as he stumbles into the absurdity of war.

But the real life inspiration for Schwejk was a deliriously talkative 23 year old with innocent eyes, and a taste for extreme logic, the batman to the real life Lt. Lucas So here he is again, a deliriously talkative 23 year old with innocent eyes .and a taste for extreme logic, who stumbles, again, on the utter absurdity of war.

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