2018 Karlovy Vary Film Fest Kicks Off with Tribute to Miloš Forman

2018 Karlovy Vary Film Fest Kicks Off with Tribute to Miloš Forman

Director Miloš Forman, perhaps the most renowned Czech filmmaker in the history of cinema and an Oscar-winner for films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, passed away earlier this year at the age of 86

To honor his legacy, the 2018 edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the most celebrated film festival in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest in Europe, will debut with a tribute to the director and a screening of one of his early Czech films. 

Forman’s Oscar-nominated 1965 debut dramatic feature Loves of a Blonde will open the 53rd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, a slot typically reserved for a new, high-profile international release (last year’s fest opened with the Czech premiere of the winning comedy The Big Sick).

Loves of a Blonde (Lásky jedné plavovlásky) stars Hana Brejchová, sister of Forman’s then-wife Jana, in the role of a young small-town girl seeking true love. Forman, whose background was in documentary filmmaking and whose debut feature Black Peter starred largely non-actors, mixed familiar faces like Vladimír Menšík with a cast of unknowns in his sophomore film.

“The cast of Loves of a Blonde was a perfect balance of actors and nonactors, and I remember those few months in Zruč [nad Sázavou]  in 1964 as some of my sunniest days in the movie business,” Forman later said. 

The movie earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign-Language Film, one of four straight for Czechoslovakia during the Czech New Wave from 1965-68. Forman’s 1967 feature The Fireman’s Ball was also nominated for an Academy Award, and the director would earn 3 more nominations, and two wins, after emigrating to the USA and finding success in Hollywood. 

“Miloš Forman was not only an excellent filmmaker, but also a great friend of the Karlovy Vary festival,” said Karlovy Vary International Film Festival President Jiří Bartoška in a press release. 

“We have decided to remember him not through laudatory speeches, but through what he symbolized – film. And although local audiences will know Loves of a Blonde from its numerous showings on television, they will surely appreciate the chance to see it on the big screen.”

“We are also convinced that our foreign guests who do not often get the chance to see Forman’s Czech films – which significantly influenced the direction taken by Czech cinema – will welcome the screening as well.”

Loves of a Blonde will officially ring in the 2018 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival when it screens during the opening ceremony at the Hotel Thermal on Friday night, June 29th. It will screen again on July 5 in Thermal’s Grand Hall. 

The festival’s tribute to Forman won’t end with the screening of Loves of a Blonde. Also during the opening ceremony, music from Forman’s films such as The Firemen’s Ball, Taking Off, Valmont, Amadeus, and Hair will be performed by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra led by a conductor Libor Pešek.

The 53rd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will take place in the Czech spa town from June 29 through July 7.

Pictured at top: Hana Brejchová in an original promotional still for Loves of a Blonde

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