Forman vs. Forman

dir. Helena Třeštíková, Jakub Hejna 2019 Czech Republic, France 82 min.
2019 – IDFA Amsterdam, 2019 – IFF Cannes, 2019 – IFF Karlovy Vary
The archival footage - mostly interviews with Forman (who died in 2018) - does not show his life in an exclusively positive light. It's a multifaceted, candid portrait of not only a great artist, but above all, a unique human being.

Who better to describe the life of director Miloš Forman (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Amadeus”) than the man himself? Jakub Hejna and Helena Třeštíková created this collage portrait entirely from archive interviews, scenes from his classic films, visits to his film sets, and home videos shot by the filmmaker himself.

Forman, who died in 2018, explores his eventful career and private life. He lost both his parents as a child when they were deported from the former Czechoslovakia to concentration camps. He never felt at home with his foster families: “I felt like I was looking at the families through a window,” explains the filmmaker, “That feeling never left me.” Did that sense of remoteness and being disconnected perhaps form him as a storyteller? We get the opportunity to draw parallels such as these between Forman’s work and his personal life. But rather than carrying out an analysis, Hejna and Třeštíková let the images and outpourings—some of which are voiced by Forman’s son Petr—speak for themselves. The result is an intriguing glimpse into the life of an immigrant whose films were nominated for 31 Oscars, taking 13 of them home.

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