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.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

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

MfD: Czech pub killer changed after losing job
26 Feb 2015 16:00 - Czech News Agency

Reports say Zdeněk K. was only seen by neighbors once or twice a year since 1990s

Ministry: Doctors may get access to gun registry
26 Feb 2015 10:13 - Czech News Agency

Stricter rules are being debated in wake of Czech mass shooting in a pub

Czech PM shocked by mass killing in Uherský Brod
24 Feb 2015 19:00 - Czech News Agency

Politicians react to death of eight victims plus the gunman in Moravian town

Multiple dead in Czech restaurant shooting
24 Feb 2015 15:24 - Czech News Agency

No motive yet for gunman opening fire in Uherský Brod

MfD: Czechs delivered weapons to Ukraine last year...
19 Feb 2015 10:00 - Czech News Agency

Ministries deny that lethal arm shipments took place and claim policy is tough and restrictive

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

The Cine File

Seven movies that show the Berlin Wall
09 Nov 2014 14:00 - André Crous Photo: Wikipedia

Although very real, the symbol of a divided city was captured in many a fiction film

Trabant cars head to Australia for documentary
08 Feb 2015 17:00 - Czech News Agency

Cars and bikes will cover 20,000 kilometers in the Pacific

#FlashbackFriday : Five Věra Chytilová films to wa...
14 Mar 2014 12:05 - André Crous Courtesy photo

Thanks to several avant-garde projects, late Czech film director was never uninteresting

Movie review: The Family
12 Nov 2013 20:01 - André Crous Courtesy photo

Robert De Niro walks the tightrope between comedy and seriousness in new mafia film

Movie review: The Physician
09 May 2014 16:00 - André Crous Courtesy photo

Historical epic points out the danger of religious intolerance, and of the intolerance of religion