Jiri Menzel

Postirziny - the making ogJiri Menzel (born 1938) is a Czech film director, actor, and screenwriter. Wikipedia tells us that “his films often combine a humanistic view of the world with sarcasm and provocative cinematography.” Many of them are adapted from works by Czech writers such as Bohumil Hrabal.

Postriziny (1981) contains one of my favourite mainstream spanking scenes. Set in the 1920s, this gentle comedy is based on Hrabal’s semi-autobiographical novel The Village Where Time Stood Still.

The English title is “Cutting it Short” and near the end of the film Magda Vasaryova’s character is spanked by her husband for having her hair “bobbed” – a style which was popular with the assertive generation of young, fun-loving women that emerged in this period.

It’s a symbol of her rebellion against the stifling and conservative small town in which she lives. Jiri Schmitzer spanks her over white panties with the rubber hose from a bicycle pump. The punishment is a public one with a selection of villagers looking on in quiet approval.

After a few quite severe strokes she lowers her own panties and my interpretation is that the sight of the marks he has left act as a reminder that she has been punished enough. Some observers, including Chross, have suggested that she doesn’t seem too unhappy to be punished in this way, and may even be encouraging him to continue spanking her on the bare! In the book it is made fairly explicit that the character (based on Hrabal’s mother) does want the husband to take more control and assert himself, and that she is secretly pleased when he does (thanks to Practical K for telling me about this).

Practical K also reminded me that:

There is also a wonderful reference to spanking earlier in the film, in an exchange between the main character and the local doctor. After some good-natured horseplay, he pretends to scowl at her and tries to look stern and says, “You deserve five and twenty” which is a sort of Czech equivalent of “six of the best” and is only ever used to refer to a good thrashing. However, she can barely suppress a smile as she breathlessly replies, “On the bare bottom?” As far as I can remember, this piece of dialogue is not in the original novella, and in any case it’s exactly the kind of slightly kinky thing that Menzel seems to delight in including in his films.

Hrabal’s story has been adapted as a stage play too. Stills of the spanking scene turn up from time to time on the internet from productions which, to the best of my knowledge, have all been staged in the Czech Republic. This is my complete collection including a brand new one that Harry has sent me from a recent production (bottom right pic). It’s especially interesting in showing the spanking administered on modern white bikini panties rather than the usual period underwear.

Postriziny Postriziny2 Postriziny1
Postriziny201111 postriziny2011 2 postriziny2011
Postriziny6 Postriziny7 5600 postriziny

The Beggar’s Opera/Zebrácká Opera was directed by Menzel for Czech TV in 1991, and based on a play by the former Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Havel. It included this spanking scene which, before I got to see it, was described to me by another email friend.

A girl enters her boyfriends room, sprightly young thing, in late teens, He is a minor crook, and when she tells him that someone is looking for him, (One of the big Boys) he starts dressing, and then turns her over his knee. She is well spanked, but from a facial angle, which shows her giggling, and crossing her eyes. When he finishes, he drops her on his bed, and climbs out of the window, and over the garden wall…..fin.

The eye-crossing spankee is Barbora Leichnerová.

zebracka opera

Another Menzel film, Closely Observed Trains, which won an Oscar in 1968 for Best Foreign Language Film, was also based on a story by Hrabl. It’s a coming-of-age story about a boy working at a train station in German-occupied Czechoslovakia. The moment when the randy young station guard rubber stamps the naked backside of a flirtatious peasant girl, played by Jitka Zelenohorska, is unforgettable.

Again an enthusiastic emailer wrote to me about this:

A young girl has an affair of some sort with a station agent. When he seduces her she bends over a table at the train station, he lifts her dress and proceeds to mark her from knees to bottom with different stamps meant for stamping official papers. She has a lovely (lovely!) bottom and her face is full of apprehension as he, with each new stamp, gets closer and closer and closer – to her bottom.

Closely Observed Trains

Her mother takes her to the police station where the girl has to bend over while her mother lifts the girl’s skirt and tells the policemen:

”Look! Look at this! This is what the station agent has done”.

The policemen rise to get a closer look at her thighs and buttocks, and I understand them!

If you haven’t seen it, go out there and find it, it’s great!

Jiri Menzel is clearly ”one of us”!

It’s interesting how many of you seem to share a special empathy for Jiri Menzel and the unique charm that he brought to cinema spanking. Another correspondent told me that he once wrote to Menzel “as a serious student of course” and got a signed letter in exchange. He spoke of his love for Menzel’s work with its “humour and dark shades”.

I have one last Menzel inspired snippet from The Spank Statement inbox to offer you:

In Closely Observed Trains, I liked Jitka Bendova, the train guard, she was better named than Zelenahorska, for a spanking, wasn’t she?

7 thoughts on “Jiri Menzel”

  1. Hi Valdor

    Whilst I’m far from an authority on Hrabel’s short stories and novels I think I can answer the first of your questions. All Hrabels work was basically autobiographical and the events described actually happened. Hrabel’s father died when he was very young and his mother re-married a man who was the manager of a small provincial brewery.

    So what is seen in the film is Hrabel’s mother being publicly spanked by his stepfather – an event which took place in reality. I believe the period that the story is told was just prior to the First World War.

    In my view these few minutes of Postriziny are far for erotic, evocative and sensual than hours and hours of Anglo-American ‘schoolgirl spanking’. This film was made with a love and respect of life rather than commercial gain from, let’s be honest, rather pathetic sexual fantasists. Don’t get me wrong I’m all in favour of a bit of sexual fantasy, especially if it concerns spanking naughty girls’ bottoms – but not all the bloody time.

    Apologies if my comments are rambling and mispelt but I write this having drunk too much wine,with my beautiful girlfriend. at my house on the shores Mediterranean. Its now 3.30am – well past my bedtime. Buenas noches.

  2. Interesting, to learn that the characters were based on the writer’s parents, and that the spanking is not only in the original story, but actually happened in reality.

    thanks as ever for your not-rambling-at-all comments 🙂

  3. An excellent spanking given, made even more sexually erotic, because the naughty wife, was wearing suspender-belt and stockings. Plus her spanking was witnessed, which brought humiliation to the spanking scene.

  4. The emails on Jiri Menzel continue to arrive. This is the latest:

    Michael writes:

    That’s a lovely piece on Jiri Menzel. Menzel may well be one of us, but a lot of the credit really goes to the great Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal who wrote both “Closely Observed Trains” and “Postriziny” and I think did the screenplays as well. He certainly collaborated with Menzel.

    The films were made when Czechoslovakia (as was) was under the iron glove of Russian communism so they made these subversive little films ostensibly about the Nazis or even olden times so the Commie apparatchiks would not get upset.

    The Czechs, a wonderful race in my opinion, have I believe an annual festival where the menfolk all spank their women in public.

    There is a spanking in some productions of the original 18th Century “Beggars Opera” by John Gay, so I guess the piece you refer to was an adaptation of this.

  5. Michael is quite right to link the Havel play with the 18th-century Beggar’s Opera by John Gay. But there is a key difference between the film and the two 1960s/70s London productions which each introduced a spanking scene. In the film, the girl is Polly Peachum, being spanked by her husband, the crook Macheath (played by Josef Abrham). In the stage productions, it was the jailer’s daughter Lucy Lockit who got the spanking for arranging Macheath’s escape from prison. And the two productions were different too: in the first Lucy was spanked by her mother, and in the second by her father. So… one original play, but three different spanking options!

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