Warrior of God (Jan Žižka)

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Warrior of God (Jan Žižka)

Working Title: Jan Zizka “WARRIOR OF GOD”
Genre: Historical drama
Format: 4K
Sound: Dolby Digital
Length: 120 minutes
Original dialogue: English
Producers: J.B.J. Film – Petr Jákl
Barrandov Studios
Story: Kevin Bernhardt
Director: Petr Jákl

The film takes us back to the period that preceded the outburst of Hussite fanaticism, it is a film about the power of passion, revenge and the meaning of the struggle for justice. A film from the dawn of the undefeated Czech leader Jan Zizka of Trocnov.


Warrior of God


Medieval mercenary Jan Zizka and his merciless band were well known among Kings, for doing their unofficial ‘dirty’ work. But in Jan’s mind, there is nothing TOO bad, when one is in service of the very right hands of God on Earth.

Their latest job is another for Bohemia’s King Wenceslas IV himself – and will put the crown of Emperor on his head. But the kidnapping of a Lord’s beautiful fiancee Katherine - brings the whole world down upon them – largely because of her place in negotiations between the wealthiest Lords. And beyond the endless battles and blood Jan suffers during their harrowing run, Katherine proves be the only light in his Medieval darkness. She opens his eyes to not only the struggle of his people for equality – but moreso challenges his belief system - that his work is ‘sanctioned’ by God (as he was raised believing) - and therefore right. It all makes for a number of harrowing turns – and an even more startling and heartwrenching end.

The film is inspired by the origin story of the legendary Jan Zizka of Trocnov - who later put down four Crusades as one of only 7 Generals in history to never lose a battle. And he did so - no longer fighting for any King – but instead a God that was right and equal – to everyone.

“He, who is decent, is always decent. He, who was faithful, is faithful even now. He, who spins with the wind, spun with the wind before. He, who thinks that now his time has come, always thought only of himself. No one becomes a defector, unless he always was a defector. He, who changes his faith, had none to begin with. You cannot changea man - he will only become more colourful.”

(Karel Čapek, famous Czech writer - Lidové noviny, 1938)



The film is inspired by the life of Jan Zizka of Trocnov. Before he became one of the only seven Generals in history to never lose a battle - Jan was a brutal mercenary, who fought the private battles of Kings, doing the sort of dirty work which could not be done ‘on the record’. But Jan fervently believed that a King was the right hand of God – and that he and his merciless band of bloodthirsty men were the sword in that hand. It was the darkest period in Jan Zizka’s history, and he worked better in the dark than anyone.

But Medieval Europe was not an easy place to believe in anything. At the turn of the 14th century – Europe was riddled with chaos. The people suffered the aftermath of the bubonic plague, Kings faced the raids of marauding Turks, and the church had two rival Popes in a Papal schism. Nowhere was it worse than the formerly most prosperous Kingdom of Bohemia, where the foundation of all things civilized (previously built by Roman Emperor Charles IV) - was on verge of absolute collapse under his son King Wenceslas IV.

Jan enters this big story in a small way, fighting as a paid guard - to prevent the assassination of that King’s main advisor Lord Boresh – on his way out of Italy on the Bohemian King’s business. Jan is startlingly successful in battle, largely because his tactics are based on strict and oftentimes cruel military rules. Because Lord Boresh’s normal guard is totally dispatched by assassins, he offers Jan and his mercenaries even better payment - to escort him all the way to Prague. As a bonus – it is a chance for Jan to finally go back to where he grew up. That would be a mixed blessing.

They race back – to arrive in time to join the concluding negotiations about the Bohemian King Wenceslas IV’s coronation trip to Rome (to be Emperor). It is believed that this crown will be instrumental in bringing Charles IV’s prosperity back to the Kingdom of Bohemia. King Wenceslaus IV already has his brother King Sigismund (of Hungary) overseeing the recruitment of the army needed for this coronation journey – but he needs financing from the Nobility Union - led by Henry III of Rosenberg (the wealthiest Lord in the country). The assurance gathered by Lord Boresh on his trip for the safe passage of the King is supposed to assure those funds. But even as Jan delivers Lord Boresh in the nick of time with the document - a selfish Rosenberg continues to refuse the loan. Secretly, Rosenberg feels his own stake in the Kingdom will be threatened - by the King’s new power.

At this, Lord Boresh offers to further employ Jan – in the kidnapping of Rosenberg's young fiancée Katherine. She is the daughter of the most influential nobleman in Hungary – so beyond Rosenberg’s affection, she is immensely valuable to him for business and political influence. As such - it is not only unsanctioned, but also impossibly dangerous. But Jan is offered enough ducats to make him and his cohorts rich men. And beyond that – it is another opportunity to further the work of ‘the Hand of God’ in a King. His only hesitation concerns - kidnapping a woman. Because even he must have a few rules.

In another brutal battle, Jan and his men successfully kidnap her. But as expected - their race back to King Wenceslas IV becomes increasingly nightmarish with the rising challenges. Once Jan outmaneuvers Rosenberg’s soldiers – the powerful Lord allies with no less than his Highness’ brother King Sigismund (who had has own aspirations – even against his own blood). And Sigismund’s mercenary Torak - has no rules whatesoever. Beyond that advantage – Torak also trained Jan. And Jan has an even bigger disadvantage. He is finally back home.

Torak’s attack on what’s left of his family there – brings his heart into the job. His trip home has already been complicated by memories of an event which shaped him here, but that now looks very different. And once separated from his band, he softens toward Katherine, who - despite her innocence and wealthy upbringing – questions him further and that event further. She also shows a genuine concern for the plight of the common people here and supports the equality preached by Jan Hus (the only light in these cruel times).

The plot also thickens. After numerous tense and close calls – the stakes further rise as Jan comes to understand what King Sigismund will gain - in rescuing her. It will result in a fate for people which would be even worse than anything they now suffer. He MUST succeed and for a moment, they begin to work together, to get her to King Wenceslas IV – which seems the better option.

But along the way Katherine is also changing too - as she realizes the harsh reality of this world – which may be too far gone beyond her idealistic notions. And although they were initially rivals, Jan and Katherine find each other - somewhere between the very different places they start. He comes to the full understanding of just how wrong his beliefs about Kings has been – and he makes an extreme decisio not to finish the job for King Wenceslas IV! He will return her to her father – so that no one would gain anything anymore, at the common man’s expense. Ironically - though Jan lost an eye along the way, he now sees the world quite clearly.

They have clearly fallen desperately in love. But the surprise-to-beat-all-surprises comes – as Katherine is finally taken from Jan BY HIS OWN MEN! Determined to finish the job - they ambush Jan and take Katherine to the castle.

But even his men have bitten off more than they can chew – against Torak. Because King Sigismund has resorted to even dirtier measures - and after kidnapping his own brother and a King- has laid the final trap in the castle. Jan battles his way - to ambush BOTH sides and try to rescue her. But as a result of the bloody chaos – both he and Katherine are pushed to the absolute limits of who they can be – and what they believe.

This film follows the story of Jan Zizka’s evolution - in a time that preceded the Hussitism, when power, greed, and vengeance were the driving force for all. Jan’s race is not only against time and an onslaught of tireless Medieval foes, but also toward becoming the man – who would put down five Crusades for the church of Jan Hus – AGAINST these Kings in whom he no longer believes – but moreso for all that was equal and right to the common people of his homeland…

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