Sredni Vashtar (film)

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German title Sredni Vashtar
Original title Sredni Vashtar
Country of production UK
original language English
Publishing year 1981
length 27 minutes
Director Andrew Birkin
script Saki ,
Andrew Birkin
production Harvey Bernhard ,
Andrew Birkin
camera Peter Hannan
cut Peter Hollywood

In 1981, Saki's short story Sredni Vashtar was filmed by director Andrew Birkin . The film takes place in the post-war period of the First World War , the location of the plot cannot be determined and the film and the story are about a boy who suffers from paternalism - in his aunt's film, in his cousin's book - and at the same time in his fantasy against her fights.


Conradin is a ten-year-old boy who suffers from a serious genetic defect that he inherited from his mother - who died at the age of 20 - so that he has little chance of living long. Since his father also perished during the war, the ten-year-old lives with aunt Augusta, his guardian, who deliberately makes him suffer from hypocritical overprotection every day. It sets up an absurd set of rules in order to impose its rules and, above all, its prohibitions. So that she can rob him of his last freedom, the aunt hires a tutor , Mr. Mortimer, on the pretext of wanting to promote Conradin more in his school career. Under these circumstances, he can only play in the garden and the unused shed behind the house.

It is in these sheds that Conradin escapes more and more frequently. Next to a hen living there, Conradin builds a shrine in which he hides his ferret. He also starts a cult around this ferret. Conradin opposes Aunt Augusta's religion with "Sredni Vashtar", to whom he prays for help every day in order to be redeemed by his aunt. When Aunt Augusta noticed the frequent visits to the shed, she investigated the matter. However, she only finds the chicken and takes possession of it right away. In mourning over the loss of the chicken, Conradin again begs his god for redemption.

Since Conradin still visits the shed frequently, the aunt sets out to examine the shed more closely. Conradin watches through the window and expects to lose his ferret too.

However, the aunt does not come back from the shed, but Sredni Vashtar appears with a blood-smeared snout. Conradin's prayers to Sredni Vashtar were answered. To celebrate the victory over his aunt, he makes himself two toast with lots of jam, which he was otherwise strictly forbidden, while the housemaids do not yet know how to deliver the news of his aunt's death.


Differences from the book

  • His guardian is his cousin Mrs. de Ropp in the book and his aunt Augusta in the film.
  • Conradin is not taught by a tutor in the book.
  • There is no specific information about the death of his parents in the book.
  • The chicken is a hen of the Houdan breed in the original story.

Film music

Carmina Burana by Carl Orff was used for the background music .

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