Czech filmmaker Milos Forman on October 9, 2009 in Paris
Czech filmmaker Milos Forman, who died on Saturday at the age of 86, was one of the leading authors of a „New Wave“ that brought freedom and protest, before fleeing his country after the repression of the 1968 Prague Spring and to get the consecration in Hollywood.
A naturalized American in 1977, he has twice won the Academy Award for Best Director for „Flight over a Cuckoo’s Nest“ (1976) and „Amadeus“ (1985). His immense and singular work focused on unsubdued characters in abeyance with all forms of oppression.
Born February 18, 1932 in Caslav, a small town about a hundred kilometers from Prague, he became an orphan after the deportation and death of his parents, Czech resistance against the Nazi occupier, in the concentration camps Buchenwald and Auschwitz.
After attending a boarding school for the elite of communist youth in Podebrady near Prague where he met Vaclav Havel, a future playwright, dissident and president, he continued his studies at the prestigious Prague Film School FAMU.
– Break with the conformist tone –
With his contemporaries such as Jiri Menzel (Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1968 for „closely watched Trains“), Ivan Passer and Vera Chytilova, he enjoyed a relative thaw in the 1960s to break with the conformism of communist productions. .
Czech filmmaker Milos Forman in Lyon at a festival, October 10, 2010
With „The Competition (1963),“ The Ace of Spades „(1964),“ The Loves of a Blonde „(1965) and“ Fire, Firefighters! „(1967), it contributes greatly to the birth of the Czechoslovak New Wave, characterized by the frankness of the expression often obtained thanks to the choice of non-professional actors.
Originally produced by the Italian magnate Carlo Ponti, the social satire „Fire, firemen!“ aroused the wrath of communist authorities but also of the producer himself. The latter wants to recover his 80,000 dollars, refusing to finance what was in his eyes a parody flat.
After risking the prison, Milos Forman is shot by French filmmakers François Truffaut and Claude Berri who buy the rights of the film.
„Fire, firefighters!“ However, it was not presented at Cannes in May 1968, as the festival was closed prematurely because of the events in Paris.
Shortly before the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact forces in 1968, which ended the liberal period of the „Prague Spring,“ Milos Forman opted for exile, first in France and then in the United States. United.
New Yorkers of naturalized American adoption in 1977, he won the international consecration thanks to a string of flamboyantly successful films.
It turns „Flight over a nest of cuckoo“ (1975), quasi-documentary film on psychiatric hospitals with Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, then the cinematographic version of the famous musical „Hair“ (1979) and „Ragtime „in 1981.
– Eight Oscars for „Amadeus“ –
„I knew the political and ideological pressure of a communist country, and the commercial one that weighs on the directors in the US I much prefer the commercial pressure where you depend on the public, the ideological pressure where you are at the mercy of any idiot, „he told AFP.
Czech filmmaker Milos Forman holds Hollywood Oscar on March 25, 1985 for his film „Amadeus“
Shortly before the fall of communism, he returned to his native country to shoot his masterpiece „Amadeus“ in Prague’s natural setting, along with his faithful Czech collaborators, including director of photography Miroslav Ondricek.
A fresco about the rivalry of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri is awarded in 1985 eight Oscars, including the best film.
His filmography also includes „Valmont“ (1989), a variation on „Dangerous Liaisons“ by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, „Larry Flynt“ (1996) reflection on freedom of expression through the life of the pornographer, „Man on the Moon „(1999) with Jim Carrey, inspired by comic Andy Kaufman’s life, and the“ Ghosts of Goya „(2006).
A great lover of cycling and cigars, he was married three times: with two actresses, Jana Brejchova and Vera Kresadlova who gave him the twin sons Matej and Petr, then with the screenwriter Martina Zborilova, with whom he again had twins, Andy and Jim, like Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey.