Hmyz (2018) Script

-Sit down. -What?

Just sit, okay?

It will be like always.

He'll slate and say "sound" first, you say "rolling," he'll slate...

Ladies and gentlemen, it's common practice for the authors of books to write a foreword to their work.

Perhaps not because they want to explain to slow-witted readers the meaning of their work, but to give them a key for reading their book whether sitting down with a cup of coffee or lying on a beach under an open umbrella or under a blanket, holding a flashlight.

Sometimes a foreword also talks about how the book was created.

So why not have one in a film as well?


-It's okay, it's-- -He doesn't say "sound."

-That "rolling" is there? -It's there.

-Then it's fine. -It kind of doesn't make sense.

The whole thing doesn't make sense. How do you want it to make sense?

The Čapek Brothers wrote The Insect Play in 1924.

At that time, Adolf Hitler was sitting in a Munich pub drinking beer and crossing Jewish ancestors off his family tree.

And the goon Jughashvili was just taking on Lenin's legacy only so he could later turn it into one big gulag.

So the play was not yet supposed to be a political satire.

It was pure juvenile misanthropy.

No wonder the Czech flag-wavers, who had not yet sobered up from the euphoria of newly gained independence, scolded the Čapeks for their inappropriate pessimism.

And the young brothers listened.

They wrote an optimistic ending to the play.

Oh, what a lovely day.

A day chickenshit was probably born, which later in the Czech lands came into monstrous bloom and became the main Czech national attribute.

But that's not what our film is about. What is it about, then?

I don't know. I wrote the script just as it came out of me in one go, just like automatic writing.

That's the only-- no.

But that's not what our film is about. What is it about, then?

I don't know. I wrote the script just as it came out of me in one go, just like automatic writing.

Without any rational or moral...


Without any rational or moral control.

That's the only way you can avoid the messianic temptation of great artists to reform humankind, to improve, to warn, to refine.

Won't work. Read Freud.

The only good answer to the cruelty of life is the scorn of imagination, as one Czech decadent poet would put it.

Can anyone tell me what's up with those damn dung beetles?

-Should've been here ten minutes ago. -Klásková is having an attack of lumbago.

Bunch of slackers!

Can't work like this!

One, two, three.

Five minutes more, then I'm sending you home.

Three minutes.

Two minutes.

Thirty seconds.

-You're exactly 30 minutes late. -Twenty-two.

This is unacceptable, Karel.

I'll be forced to give your part to someone else.

-Don't make such a big thing of it. -Before, it was 15 minutes, today 30.


Next time, it'll be an hour.

-How will the others feel about it? -I have other duties.

Other duties! You think the rest of us don't have any or what?

Klásková stays home in bed, you have duties!

-And why isn't Tramp here? -Alois said to send his apologies.

Has to wait for the mailman. Expecting a package from home.

This is terrific, just great!

Some fuckin' food package means more to him than...

If you can't be bothered, we can call the whole thing off. I don't care.

I'm happy to devote my time to something more worthwhile.

And what might that be?

Where's my knave, my fool?

You should've let him.

I brought this so you can see what, or who, you're supposed to be playing.

Insect populations were most numerous and diverse in the Tertiary Period, whereas Homo sapiens did not emerge until sometime during the Quaternary.

-So it is much older than us. -Who is?


Which one is the dung beetle?

That one.

This one?

No. That one!

Can't you recognize a dung beetle? It's the one with the ball.

But you were pointing at that one.

Let me see.

Who is it that can tell me who I am?

Yuck. Ugh.

Now that we've had such a nice talk about the insects, we should also say a few words about the play and its authors.

Of all the Čapek Brothers' plays, The Insect Play was perhaps the most misunderstood.

In particular, it was thought to be overly pessimistic.

The Čapek Brothers took the criticism to heart.

I don't get it. Why did they suddenly wimp out and give the play a new, more optimistic ending although nobody forced them to?

I can't help it, but they were chickenshit.

They wanted to please the crowd, they wanted to be good Masaryk boys...

-Very nice. -Thank you.

I guess you're wondering which version I've chosen for our production.

Optimistic or pessimistic?

Not trying to simplify things, I see no point in fake heroics.

The director should serve the author, or authors, in this case.

They changed the ending, so who am I to argue?

After all, they are the great Čapek Brothers, right?

Having clarified that point, we can proceed to the work of the actor.

As you all know, I am a believer in the Stanislavski method.

I admit it may not longer be in vogue, but in my view no one has yet come up with a more comprehensive, effective and profound approach.

-And you keep splitting it. -Divide it among all-- yes.

And you should show it with your every look.

Yes, a bit more...

And it escalates with the script, okay?

The expression was good, I just felt

-as if you were mainly talking to... -Růžena.

-...someone here, and no one's here. -I see, I thought Růžena...

-Růžena is here. -So Růžena is...

But it looked like here... So if it's Růžena, then you...

-Růžena on the left, Budař on the right. -I see. He's on the right, right?

So there and also at Borovička. Divide it fairly.


Having clarified that point, we can proceed to the work of the actor.

As you all know, I am a believer in the Stanislavski method.

I admit it may no longer be in vogue, but in my view no one has yet come up with a more comprehensive, effective and profound approach.

Take his principle of the actor getting inside his character.

Fuck this! What's the matter with you?

Here I am doing my best to explain...

We might as well have stayed at home, tucked in bed, waiting for a package.

How now! Are the horses ready? So what shall we rehearse today?

No František. I wasn't talking to you.

You sleep. I'll let you know.

Turn to Act II, page 31.

Tramp isn't here. He's expecting a package.

We'll skip his part!

Mrs. Dung Beetle is having an attack of lumbago.

But Mr. Dung Beetle is here.

Dung Beetle!

Dung Beetle!


Jitka, can you read Mrs. Dung Beetle's lines instead of Miss Klásková?


Quiet, please. Ladies and gentlemen, let's begin.

A big ball of dung rolls onstage, pushed by Mr. and Mrs. Dung Beetle.

A big ball of dung, pushed by Mr. and Mrs. Dung Beetle.

Going all right?

You are a dung beetle, yes?

I... I... I...

The-- the earth is bursting!

I-- I am being born!

The great adventure begins!

Let me.


A big ball of dung rolls onstage, pushed by Mr. and Mrs. Dung Beetle.

Go-going all right. Yes?

Oh, our little dung ball! Uh-oh. Oopsie, you scared me!

All right now, darling? Our-- our precious little ball!

Aha hahaha ha, our capital!

Our shining pi-pile of ordure!

Our go-golden one!

Our wo-world!

You beautiful pile of droppings, our treasure, our ball of lovely dung, our nest egg.

Our joy and happiness!

How we've scrimped and saved to come by it!

How we've toiled and moiled and seen it grow, bit by smelly bit...

On our feet all day raking in hundreds of tiny piles...

Before we molded you and shaped you, filled you in, rounded you out.


-Where's the director? -You should go and apologize.

Me? To who?

What for?

Go get it ready!

I don't dream, and when I do, I don't remember it.

Sometimes I dream of missing a rehearsal or a performance or I don't know my lines on the stage.

They are depressing and paranoid dreams, but they're not really worth writing down.

Listen, Bohouš, I'd like to apologize.

You see... my wife wanted me in the garden... so I had to--

Can't you take the time to look at it? At least 15 minutes a day.

That was terrible. What did you do in school?

You can't even read.

Have you thought about joining a model-building club instead?

Gluing plastic planes together... ships.

No. You know, Patrick, I love acting, I really do. I'll get better.

There's lots of time before opening night. I'll rehearse every day.

I'll memorize it.

You'll see, you'll be happy with me in the end.

I don't know, Borovička.

You know what? Find a quiet corner and learn your lines.

I doubt Miss Klásková will turn up anyway, so we'll skip your scene today and do it next time. Okay?

Page 41. Mr. and Mrs. Cricket.

I'll tell you what. Let's try it onstage.


Isn't it too bright in the back?

Mr. and Mrs. Cricket onstage.

You will say, "Action!" Then put your glasses on and come straight out with your first line.

Not on camera. We'll do the whole thing later with you running out and dancing.

By the way, forget your acting training.

We never had any.

Forget your acting experience. The more pathetic, the better.

I always read all my lines--

You do that and leave your emotions out of it if you can.



Look out, darling. Mind you don't stumble.

Here we are. Here we are. This is our home, our new little home.

Tra-la-la, tra-la-la, tra-la-la, tra-la-la. Now.

Tra-la-la, tra-la-la. Now.

Tra-la-la, tra-la-la, tra-la-la, tra-la-la...


Careful! Are you all right?

This must go or someone will break their neck.

Can't that stupid thing be moved at least 20 centimeters?

Never mind that and stick to the text.

No, Cricket. Don't be absurd!

But, darling, you must be careful when you're expecting.

How come you're not pregnant?

-What are you talking about? -Where's your cushion?

I thought that since it's just a rehearsal--

Leave the thinking to me. Cushion!

It's fine to own something.

A little property, the dream of a lifetime, our little piece of dung, our life.

It's fine to own something.

Is this our new home?


Our little nest, our villa, our little residence, hee-hee!

Hee-hee-hee, hee-hee-hee, hee-hee-hee, hee-hee-hee.

Will it be dry? Who built it?

Goodness me, another cricket lived here. Hee-hee-hee.

I see. And why did he move?

He moved-- yes, he moved.

And do you know where? Guess.


I don't know. God, you take so long to say anything.

Come on, Cricket, tell me!

Well, yesterday a butcher-bird pinned him on a thorn!

I'm telling you, dearest.

Through and through!

Just imagine! There he was, twitching his little legs in the air like this.

Ow, ow. See?

Ow, ow, ow...


And he's still alive. Hee-hee-hee!

Still alive?

Ha. How horrible!

Oh, how lucky we are! Tra-la-la...

You say he's still... twitching his little legs?

Now, now, don't cry.

Show me, how is he twitching his legs?

Like this. Hee-hee-hee!

That must be funny!

There, you see? No more tears!

Not bad, given it's the first time we've run through the scene. Break.

I direct it like an animated film. Or puppet theater.

Short takes, minimal movement of the camera, stylized acting, no psychology.

As if the actors had wires attached to the head and strings on the arms.

Růženko, I love you. You were terrific.

You really think so?

You hungry, miss?

Goodness, no! I couldn't possibly. I'm on a strict diet, fighting this fat!

That's a real shame! You're not doing yourself a favor, miss.

Jitka. My name's Jitka.

That's your best feature, Jituško.

This is Jituška.

No, we won't give it to her.

You'll take a bite, wash it down. We must have a beer here.

Yes, yes...

You're eating and checking Jitka out discreetly.

And it's not...

It's basically the cold look of a cannibal.

No showing any fondness, okay?

You want to know how much it will yield.

-Those few pounds of flesh. -Okay.

You have such delicate hands.

I'm sure you could never hurt any woman.

Růženko, does he hit you much because of me?

Václav! Come here!

Oh, never mind him!

Look, Václav. Instead of just hanging around, why don't you go and check the new props they brought yesterday?

They're back there in a trunk.

-The beer's not here. -That's what we keep saying.

Jeez, pour some beer now. I have the roach in my hand.

I'm sorry. They're working on it. You can put it back.

I'm not putting it back, but hurry up.

Pour the beer now.

Why is it nonalcoholic? So it doesn't get drunk?

I don't know what's up.

Here it is.

-What did you do with it? -We used nonalcoholic beer.

-Why is the foam so high? -It'll go down in a minute.

More like a half an hour. It's biting my finger.

-Can I put it in? -Yes.

So what?

One, two, action!

Come look at it. I think it's good.

-Okay, fine. -Really?

-Looks pretty real. -Kind of like it's...

Let's see if we can get her to eat it so she can throw it up.

We must warm it up for her.

It's rolled oats, frozen vegetables, all good stuff.

She must be there when it's made so she doesn't throw up before she throws it up.

-For your mummy, for your daddy. -For Bobík.

Don't worry, Mr. Švankmajer, there's enough.

-It'd be good if it fell on its back. -It's...

I live in St. Vitus Cathedral.

There's a grass gallery, kind of like a garden bed with a railing, a river runs by, and I'm taking my clothes off, getting ready for bed.

And then I notice I have a mouse tick biting me here.

So I pull it off, throw it down the drain, and want to flush it, but it's impossible, becuase that mouse tick is full, it stinks so badly, and I'm so worried it will burst and multiply.

It's fine to own something, a little property, the dream of a lifetime.

It's fine to own something, a little property, the dream of a lifetime.

Our little piece of dung, our life.

I'm quite wild with joy. I'm mad with joy.

I swear, I'm quite mad!

My little ball! My little ball!

Okay, everyone, back to work. Mr. and Mrs. Cricket onstage, please.

Who are you?

My eyes are not the best.

We'll furnish this place beautifully.

And as soon as we can afford it, we'll put up some...

-Curtains? -Curtains, too, of course.

Hee-hee-hee, the curtains, of course! How clever of you!

Give me a kiss!

Oh, come on! Don't be silly!

Of course I'm silly!

Cricket, I feel peculiar.

Dearest! Don't tell me... your time has come?

How come you're not pregnant again?

Okay, I forgot. Sorry.


Go back to "I feel peculiar."


Cricket, I feel peculiar.

Dearest! Don't tell me... your time has come?

Don't say it, you naughty Cricket! I'm frightened.

What's there to be afraid of? Any little lady can do it.

How can you talk like that? Tell me, Cricket, will you always love me?

Of course I will, sweetie pie.

Now, now, don't cry.

Guess what I've bought?

Now where did I...

Quick! Show me! Show me!

Oh, isn't that lovely? Give it to me, Cricket!

-Little Cricket's born, hurrah... -Give it to me!

See his mom and proud papa Sing to him and chirp and cheep To lull the little one to sleep!


What's all the fuss?

That was there before.

My little ball.

My little ball.

My little ball, my little ball, my little ball.

Soon you won't be laughing.

Well, how do you feel today?

Er, fine.

Fine? That's fine.

Little Cricket's born, hurrah!

See his mom and proud papa Sing to him and chirp and cheep...

Stop! You're not fuckin' pregnant again!

That's the third time today. What are you thinking about?

Certainly not that!

Carry on.

Little Cricket's born, hurrah!

See his mom and proud papa Sing to him and chirp and cheep...

-Tra-la-la... -Now.


Come on, you can't be serious! This is a pivotal scene in the play.

We want the audience choking with suspense and horror.

We want the women fainting.

One more time.

And look scarier.

Remember you're a murderous sabre wasp attacking its prey.

Behave like one. Don't be afraid to give that knife a good shove.



Little Cricket's born, hurrah!

See his mom and proud papa...

-Tra-la-la... -Stop! Try again!

Can't you make a mean face?

Remember: you appear and the milk should freeze on the lips of infants, as the great actor Budský used to say.



Little Cricket's born, hurrah!

See his mom and proud papa Sing to him and chirp and cheep...



Give me that!

Go down and watch.

Get up and keep watering!

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...

-Go away. -Bobíku, move!

Ready? Go!

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...

Little Cricket's born, hurrah...




Slut! Whore! Tramp!

Tart! Bitch! Monster!

That'll teach you to screw around! Take that!

Take that!

And that! And that!

"Plate sin with gold, and the strong lance..."

And that! And that!


I think she was good.

-So see you on Monday. -Okay. Goodbye.


Something like that, Václav.

Now! Throwing.

Now. Throwing.

Throwing. Throwing.

-You know how to throw it? -What?

-You know how to throw it? -No, I don't.

That's just what it felt like.

What's up?

Okay, let's go!

It's late and we've got a lot to get through.

Have a good cry. You'll feel better.

What the hell's the matter with you all?

I'm walking down the street, fast, hurrying somewhere.

Ignoring the lights, I keep going.

In my hand, I have a piece of raw meat, it's wrapped in newspaper.

I take bites of it as I walk.

Suddenly I hear pretty loud screams behind me.

So I turn around and there's a man standing there whining that he can't cross the street because someone stole the green man on the traffic lights.

There's only a red light on the lights now and he can't cross.

Suddenly I identify with that desperate guy and feel incredibly bad that the green man is gone from the lights.

Little Cricket's born, hurrah!

See his mom and proud papa...


Stop. Wrong.

Václav, I don't know how to tell you.

I'm inclined to cut the whole scene, but I can't.

It shows Sabre Wasp's character, what an aggressive asshole he is.

Do it again.

Little Cricket's born, hurrah!

See his mom and proud papa...

Stop! Wrong! Again!

You'll get there, Václav.

Little Cricket's born, hurrah!

See his mom and proud papa...

Come on, stab me, do it.

Do it!

Stab me!

I can't.

I've had enough, Václav.

You're a wimp.


Don't you go anywhere, Václav.

We'll do the scene with the dead cricket. You might find that easier.

Faithful love Cannot be marred by angry words or whims We've sworn love to each other We've pledged our word forever We shall remain faithful We shall remain faithful We shall remain faithful, faithful to each other

I was about to go to the theater for an evening performance.

I left the house and the sun was shining.

I reached into my purse for my sunglasses.

I had two pairs in there, so I put on one and realized I couldn't see anything because the lenses were all fogged up.

So I put on the other pair, and it had a piece of wood between the lenses, something like a spiral spring, like the one in a watch, the one that's inside.

So I put them on and the spring hooked under my chin like this, and I couldn't open my mouth.

So I was thinking... how am I gonna perform?




No, it's not a sack of potatoes. Try again.

For Christ's sake, Václav!

I want to see more truth.

People like it when theater is like real life.

Let's do it again.

All I want from you is the truth and only the truth, as Jan Hus said.

You may think I'm petty, nagging you about every trivial detail, but great art is made up of details, perfectly executed details.

Your acting must convince the audience that you've killed that cricket.

Right now it looks as if you just found him lying rotting in a ditch.

You think people can't tell the difference?

That they're just subtle nuances only a connoisseur would notice?

People can tell. And they won't forgive you.

So come on. Let's do it one more time.




What's up, Václav? Let's go!

Nice idea, Václav.

But try turning around so you're facing him, coming on backwards.

Ready? Go!

What's up? Why have you stopped? Let's go before we lose momentum.


No, Václav, it looked like you were stoking a stove.

Let's do it one more time.

-Anyone else for coffee? -Me!

Quiet, please! We're rehearsing.

Let's do it again.

Ready? Go.

Keep it quiet! We're trying to rehearse.

Shards on the floor, happiness at the door.

Go on.

Stop! You must grab him hard. Again.

"O, well flown, bird!

I' the clout, i' the clout."

One more time!

Quiet, we're rehearsing!

What's that stink?

Someone forgot to flush again. People are such pigs!

I have pretty stupid, realistic dreams.

What's more, they're in black and white. They're basically very boring.

For example, I go shopping for shoes or I go to buy milk.

Or I'm jumping out of a window, and they're in black and white, so...

Well, Václav, it wasn't bad at all, but it'd be better if you carried him on your back.

What's wrong with you, Václav? Let's go.

Clear up, please!

We're going to have a child.

Then you must take it easy, darling.

"Rumble thy bellyful!

Spit, fire! Spout, rain!

Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:

I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;

I never gave you kingdom, called you children.

You owe me no subscription: why then let fall your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave, a poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man."

My dreams are pretty complex. I mean, the plot is usually complex.

Often there are many characters, they are long and colorful.

Sometimes I happen to wake up and realize I woke up into another dream.

Unfortunately, I don't remember anything, only insignificant fragments of the dreams.

For example, last night I had a dream I was in some mine, and I was there with this 50-year-old woman, some strange children with a guinea pig, and we were running away from a storm, but I don't know how it ended.

I also remember that there was a wooden floor in that mine eaten through by wood borers, so every step we took, we sank.

That's how we ran away from the storm.

A cut plays a magical role in a film.

You're here, cut, and you're somewhere else.

Only dreams have a similar magic.

-Stop rolling in the little ones. -This one is bigger.

-You okay? -I just...

-You pushed off only with one foot. -You got caught on something.

-It's good for my rheumatism. -Cut!

Come, come.

You'll get some sugar.

Ouch, they're in my underpants. Now I'll get depressed. Shit.



Go to the end of Act II.

-František. You're on. -Okay.

You, too, Jitka, so at least you get to do something.

And put on the Larva costume.

That's good...

-You sure it's not too much-- -No, it ran down a little.

It'll dry up.

Whose idea was this?

It's gross.

Jeez, now it is...

We'll take it from Larva's entrance. Tramp, Larva.

Tramp's waiting for a package.

I'll feed you his lines.

Let's go.

Dita, I love your eyes so blue Dita, love you to the moon I do...

Caring, nourishing, providing...

Feeding those hungry little throats.

That's what a family's all about.

And bringing home live crickets.

But a cricket wants to live, too, and he never hurt a soul.

Poor fellow, found life so sweet with his humble tune.

That can't be right.

Let's go. Let's go.

Daddy! Daddy...

Daddy! Daddy!

So you're Larva, eh? Interesting.

So all that killing was because of you?

Who are you?

You're so repulsive.

-Why? -You just are.

So it's for you that poor papa gets three crickets a day?

-Are you edible? -No, I don't think so.

Oh, I'm so bored.

I feel like...

I feel like...

Like what?

I dunno. Like...

Like ripping something to bits... something living.

I feel like writhing...

What's the matter?

Horrid! Horrid! Horrid!

Not bad, Jitka. Could be a bit more saucy.

We can tweak that later.

No. Just stay down there a minute.

Well, it's all yours.

I'll feed you Tramp's lines, okay, František?

That's very good of you.

Let's do it.

I was looking at it, but I wouldn't do a thing like that.

I wouldn't really. Everyone wants to live, don't they?

-Who are you? -Me?

Oh, nothing much.

A poor man, an orphan. They call me a Parasite.

How can anyone dare to kill like that?

That's what I say. Do you think that Wasp fellow needs it?

Or his Larva? You think they're as hungry as I am?

Not a bit of it! They kill to add to their larder.

They hoard.

-It's a scandal, isn't that right? -I should say so.

There's no equality, that's what I say.

Take me, I don't kill anyone. My teeth are too soft.

I mean, my heart's too soft.

I don't have the wherewall-- wirewill-- wherewithal.

All I have is an empty belly. That can't be right, can it?

No, killing's no good.

My very words, buddy.

Or at least hoarding shouldn't be allowed. Eat your fill and be done.

Storing things is robbing those who have nowhere to store.

Eat your fill and that's it! Then there'd be enough for all, -wouldn't there? -I dunno.

That's what I say. Everyone wants to live.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his appetite.

But this? It's injustice. It's a disgrace.

-So what you gonna do about it? -Well...

I must go and have a look.

Murder and yet more murder! But why am I fretting so?

They were only insects, only beetles.

Blah-blah-blah and so on.

Are we finished?

I don't think so.

Dita, I love your eyes so blue...

Mr. Kopřiva, what are you doing?

Control yourself!

Out you come. Come on.

We'll call her Bohumila, after you.

The old miser kept a larder for that greensick daughter of his.

I feel quite sick.

I think I'm going to explode.

Oh, that's just like me.

Damn the hiccups!

Not everyone gets stuffed like that.

What about Larva?

Oh, I've gobbled her up, too.

Nature's table is set for everyone.

Great work. Excellent.

-You're a natural, indeed. -Thank you.

That blood wasn't a bad idea. People will like that.

Okay, end of rehearsal. Time to go home.

Look, it's Daddy! Wave to Daddy!

So who's this? Who have we got here?

Come to me, come to me. Little baby bug, baby bug, a tiny baby bug, a baby bug.

It's our baby bug, our baby bug, a baby bug.

Our tiny baby bug, our flying baby bug, our baby bug.

It's a baby bug, a baby bug...

Go to Mommy.

Our baby bug.

Here. A present from an uncle.

It really is a lovely child.

Look what I have.

Here, spin it.

Morning! Off to work, are we?

-Oh, yes. Off to work. -Same as every day.

-And you? Off to work, are we? -No, our work's done.

Lovely day, isn't it?

Yes, it's turned out well.

Well, have a good day.

You have a good day.

You have a really lovely day.

I told you.