Throughout his career, Czechoslovakian-born filmmaker Miloš Forman has combined a unique sensitivity to American themes with the best of European cinematic sensibilities. His films include such successful releases as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Hair, and Amadeus. Born in 1932 in Caslav, a small town outside of Prague, Forman lost both his parents in the Nazi death camps during World War II. In the early 1950s, Forman enrolled in the newly founded Film Institute at the University of Prague, where he worked with many of the major figures of the “Golden Age of Czech Cinema.” It was there that he first began to form his unique visual style. When Russian troops marched in 1968 he shifted his base of operations to France and from there he went to Hollywood in 1971.
Miloš Forman: Taking Off In America
By Arts Channel 9 May 2012 Documentary
EXPOSURE: with Antonio Monda — guest Miloš Forman.
Nearly 50 cinematic luminaries, visionaries, and dignitaries have come to the Walker via its Regis Dialogue and Film Retrospective. Miloš Forman, the subject of the Regis spotlight in April, is typically associated with the celebrated and award-winning films he has made in the United States over the past 30 years. A lesser-known fact is that he kick-started the Czech New Wave with his affecting and humorous satires of daily life. These films illustrate a thread that appears throughout Formans work—that of rigid political and social systems begging for rebellion.
When I lived in totalitarian regimes, I saw more clearly than you do here how we create institutions to help us—to serve us, Forman has said. Why do we always end up being dictated to by these institutions? Like they own us… are paying us to serve them. And thats always the case of rebellions, when people who see this dare to do something about it, from McMurphy to Mozart. Nearly every major Forman work is part of this retrospective, including Amadeus, Hair, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, and Tuesdays have been earmarked for screenings of his early Czech work. Forman and Scott Foundas of the LA Weekly will discuss his work on April 12 at the Regis Dialogue.
Theres an incredible vibrancy in the Czech Republic today, especially as they are now looking back to their darker days and relishing the work of artists like Miloš Forman, says Sheryl Mousley, the Walkers film/video curator. His resistance parallels the history of his country under oppression. He struggled to make work against formidable odds, emigrating just before the spring 1968 invasion of his country by the Soviets. And you see that carrying through into his American films—the heroic, almost operatic characters, the rebelliousness and joy and search for this freedom. Thats the beauty of this retrospective.
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