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THE PROUD PRINCESS

Czechoslovakia, 1954 (MIFF 1956, Programme 17)

Director: Borwoj Zeman

The Proud Princess is based on the popular fairy-tale of Bozena Nemcova, a classic author. The film tells of a young prince who is loved by his subjects for his wisdom and who, disguised as a gardener, goes on a visit to a neighbouring country in order to correct the beautiful but spoiled princess and to free her old weakling father from the influence of his profit-seeking courtiers. By this deed he not only wins the love of the princess but also the gratitude of her people for having saved their country from the king's criminal counsellors who enriched themselves to the detriment of the people.

The film has an ancient motif of fairy tales: the love of the wise king taught the proud princess to love work and to respect industrious men. The fairy &ndash: tale holds up the mirror to foolish vanity, and cowardice. The hero Miroslav is not afraid of the armed soldiers, and when the people of the enslaved country see his fearless demeanour, they brush away their own fear like dust from their coats. The princess, at last, comes to see the difference between stupid vanity and pride in a man who knows his worth.

By choice of exteriors of the Czech countryside, the director differentiated the wealth of the fertile land of Miroslav's country and the fantastic scenery of the Midnight Kingdom.

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