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Little Crusader

Václav Kadrnka
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy 2017 / 87’
Jonaki Longing

An astonishing road movie in a medieval setting. Václav Kadrnka, one of the Czech Republic's most interesting middle-aged directors, transports viewers to the frontiers of Europe at the time of the Crusades. Young Jenik wants to become a knight. He puts on his little suit of armor, grabs his sword, and when everyone else is asleep, he slips out of the keep to get a taste of heroic adventure. His father soon sets off in pursuit on horseback. Contrary to appearances, Kadrnka's second film, inspired by 19th-century romantic poetry, doesn't stick to genre cinema conventions. This story about family ties and discovering freedom is told in a meditative tone that blurs the boundary between dreaming and reality and makes use of visual metaphors. In terms of its sensibilities, it can be compared to the visual historical frescoes of Frantisek Vlácil and Aleksandr Sokurov. This unique film was recognized by the jury at last year's festival in Karlovy Vary, where Little Crusader won the top prize, making it the first Czech film in 15 years to do so.

Mariusz Mikliński


Karlovy Vary IFF Festival 2017 - Best Film; Czech Film Critics' Awards 2017 - Best Director; Czech Lions 2018 - Best Music

Václav Kadrnka

Born in 1973 in Zlín, in what was then Czechoslovakia, Václav Kadrnka immigrated in 1988 with his mother to Great Britain, where his father had previously fled the communist regime. He returned to the Czech Republic in 1992, worked as assistant to director Vojtěch Jasný and studied film directing at Prague’s FAMU (Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie Múzických Umění). His student films, shown at many international festivals, won prizes at home and abroad. Since 2008, he has worked as a freelancer – he directs, writes scripts, and produces. Eighty Letters (NH 2011) was his feature debut.

Selected filmography

1998 Defector (short)

2000 Twarz / Tvář / Face (short)

2000 O chłopcu w piłkarskich butach / O chlapci v kopačkách / About a Boy in Football Boots (short)

2001 Malé veličkosti / Odds and ends (short)

2001 Nemůžem usnout / Good Night Sleep (short)

2001 Druhý plán / The New Take (short)

2002 Ludzie z auobusu / Lidé z autobusů / Passengers (short)

2009 Druhý život dřeva / Elegy of Wood (doc., short)

2011 Osiemdziesiąt listów / Osmdesát dopisů / Eighty Letters

Cast & Crew

director Václav Kadrnka
screenplay Václav Kadrnka, Vojtech Masek, Jirí Soukup, Jaroslav Vrchlický (poem)
cinematography Jan Baset Strítezský
editing Pavel Kolaja
music Vojtech Havel, Irena Havlová
cast Karel Roden, Ales Bílík, Matous John, Jana Semerádová, Jirí Soukup
producer Václav Kadrnka
production Artileria, Sirius Films
sales Václav Kadrnka
language Czech
colouration colour