Berlinale: Programme

Film file



Oil Gobblers



This mockumentary short is set in 1987 in the brown coalfields of northern Bohemia, where the first evidence of a new species comes to light when four men find an unidentifiable footprint in the clay. Because the scientific world showed no particular interest in their discovery, the team sets out for the region again in the summer of 1987 to prove the existence of “Petroleus Mostensis” (the Latin name of the “oil gobblers”). And the researchers – a zoologist, a biochemist, the director and his cameraman – are in luck. Amidst the toxic smoke plumes and pools of poisonous effluent, they find one. The creature is as voracious as it is shy, and even rubber boots are not safe from its boundless appetite for polyethylene ... In his thesis film for Prague’s FAMU, director Jan Svěrák used the “moonscape” of the Bohemian industrial region to draw attention to environmental transgressions with this satire of scientific research. By the time the fantastical “oil gobbler”, a mixture of hare and otter, actually appears on camera, the film has already laid bare the dramatic environmental consequences of the indiscriminate industrial exploitation of natural resources in Czechoslovakia.

Jan Svěrák

Czechoslovakia 1988


22’ · Colour · 35 mm


Emil Nedbal
Lubomír Beneš
Ivo Kašpar
Jan Rokyta
Jiří Němec


Written and Directed by
Jan Svěrák
Ladislav Štěpán
Jan Sládek
Vendula Kašpárková
Zbyněk Mikulík
Art Director
Barbora Šalamounová
Alena Detáková

Produced by

FAMU/Krátký film – Studio Jiřího Trnky

Copy: Národní filmový archiv, Prag