Věra Chytilová dies at age of 85

Renowned film director and screenwriter Věra Chytilová died March 12 at the age of 85. Photo: Petr Novák, Wikipedia.
+/- FONT:

Czech Republic’s most famous female director passes away nearly 50 years after her career-making 'Daisies'

The director and screenwriter Věra Chytilová, the first lady of Czech film, died today in Prague at the age of 85. Her family broke the news to the Czech News Agency (ČTK).

As a filmmaker, Chytilová already made news with her student films, Ceiling (Strop, 1961) and A Bagful of Fleas (Pytel blech, 1962), but it was her provocative 1966 film Daisies (Sedmikrásky) that made her a household name in then-Czechoslovakia, even at the height of the otherwise male-dominated Czech New Wave that included such luminary figures as Miloš Forman and Jiří Menzel.

 

Over the years, Chytilová received numerous awards, including the French Order of Arts and Letters, the Czech Lion for longtime artistic contribution to Czech film and the State Medal for Merit.

Her films, full of satirical exaggeration, ruthlessly reflected the state of society and interpersonal relationships. Although her films after the Velvet Revolution did not achieve the same recognition as her works from previous years, she remained a critical, philosophical and sometimes controversial auteur.

"I met one of the greatest directors this country ever had," actor Miroslav Donutil, whom Chytilová cast in two of her post-revolution films, Traps (Pasti, pasti, pasticky, 1998) and The Inheritance or Fuckoffguysgoodday (Dědictví aneb Kurvahošigutntág, 1993), told ČTK.

"She was a woman who had a great sense of humor, but also a perfect sense of order, although it did not always seem so,” Donutil added. "I loved her, I [still] love her, and I will never forget her."

In the middle of working on the film The Fruits of Paradise (Ovoce stromů rajských jíme) in 1968, the occupation caught up with her, and she took a forced hiatus. When she finally made another film, eight years later in 1976, it was the bittersweet comedy The Apple Game (Hra o jablko).

Her work was again met with great success by audiences who took to her story about an aging dandy in The Very Late Afternoon of a Faun (Faunovo velmi pozdní odpoledne, 1983). She made seven more feature films before ending her directorial career in 2006 with the dark comedy Pleasant Moments (Hezké chvilky bez záruky).

However, in recent years, she also became involved in a number of documentaries, although she had directed almost two dozen since her early days as a student at Prague’s film school, FAMU. According to ČTK, it bothered her that the world hadn’t changed all that much after the fall of communism, that it still lacked compassion, and that morality is of marginal interest to society.

 

About the Author

André Crous

André Crous Google Plus

Hailing from the Cape Winelands in South Africa, André spent his student years at home and all over France before making the move to Prague in 2011. He has worked as a film critic and copy editor, and is a member of the renowned international association of film critics, FIPRESCI.

Log in  \/ 
Register  \/ 

The BIG Stories

Nigeria buys Czech weapons to fight Boko Haram
30 Jan 2015 12:00 - Czech News Agency

The world‘s largest cargo plane will make three trips with tanks and other armored vehicles

Communist show trial prosecutor dies at 93
24 Jan 2015 14:21 - Czech News Agency

Ludmila Brožová-Polednová prosecuted Milada Horáková in 1950

North Korean dictator’s uncle to be ambassador to ...
22 Jan 2015 20:28 - Raymond Johnston

Kim Pyong-il has been at European diplomatic posts since 1979

Court: Dahlgren can be extradited
12 Jan 2015 13:26 - News Desk

Appeal by accused killer of four was rejected by a US court

Photos: Hundreds gather at French Embassy
10 Jan 2015 18:48 - Czech News Agency

People pay tribute to terrorists' victims in Paris massacre

Search for a word in the Macmillan Dictionaries Online simply by double-clicking on a word on the page.

The Cine File

Watch Oscar stars on the red carpet in the Czech R...
28 Feb 2014 19:00 - Features Desk Courtesy photo

‘Live from the Red Carpet’ on Oscar night is beamed in live for the very first time

LUX Film Prize goes to ‘Ida’
18 Dec 2014 09:57 - Features Desk

Polish film beats French and Slovenian competition to wins European Union prize

Movie review: Filth
02 Dec 2013 12:15 - André Crous Courtesy photo

Despite the title, this adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel is relatively mild

Czech cinema for expats
13 Sep 2014 08:00 - André Crous Courtesy photo

The National Film Archive is screening more than a dozen top-rate films with English subtitles

The return of the king
23 Oct 2013 19:19 - André Crous Courtesy photo

Plans to celebrate 700 years since birth of Charles IV include an ambitious film production