The Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF), September 17-27, announced this week that Czech director Milos Forman will be this year’s recipient of its honorary award. Forman will visit Reykjavík during the festival and a selection of his work will be shown.
Milos Forman. Courtesy of RIFF.
Milos Forman is one of the world’s foremost directors. He’s one of only four living directors to have received two Academy Awards as Best Director (the others are Clint Eastwood, Oliver Stone and Steven Spielberg); he claimed them for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and Amadeus (1985).
Forman has also directed films such as Man on the Moon, The People vs. Larry Flint, Hair and Valmont, all made after he moved to the USA in the late 60s.
The films he made earlier in his homeland, then Czechoslovakia, are just as remarkable. Forman was at the forefront of a significant movement of young Czech directors during the 60s when he directed films such as Black Peter (Cerný Petr), Loves of a Blonde (Lásky jedné plavovlásky) and The Firemen’s Ball (Horí, má panenko).
Forman was born as Jan Tomás Forman in 1932. His parents both died in the Auschwitz concentration camp—his father was sent there for handing out banned books.
Censorship was to remain a strong theme in many of his son’s works, the best example being his defense of porn king Larry Flint’s right of free speech in The People vs. Larry Flint.
At 77 Forman is still going strong, currently working on The Ghost of Munich, a film about the Munich Agreement of 1938, working with playwright, former president of Czechoslovakia and now screenwriter, Václav Havel.