Forman vs. Forman:

15 May 2019

Czech Film

Forman vs. Forman:

World premiere of Forman vs. Forman by Helena Třeštíková in Cannes Classics

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Miloš Forman the artist. Miloš Forman the man. Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna’s documentary Forman vs. Forman will celebrate a world premiere in Cannes on Saturday 18 May.

A filmmaker decorated with Oscars for Amadeus and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s  Nest. At the same time a charismatic adventurer with the courage to question himself. The Forman vs. Forman documentary summarizes the life of the most famous Czech film director whose protagonists have always fought against institutions for freedom.

The Czech-French documentary, produced by Negativ and Czech Television on the Czech side, will be screened in this year’s official programme of Cannes International Film Festival. Along with a Forman’s restored film Loves of a Blonde (1965), the documentary has been selected to the prestigious Cannes Classics section.

Many documentaries were made about Miloš Forman at various stages of his life. Forman vs. Forman maps the journey of his life, his searching, fumbling, losses, discoveries and understanding. Directors Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna composed a layered portrait edited from numerous rare archive materials.

They used photographs from Forman’s life, magazine and news sources from Czechoslovakia as well as the United States. There are excerpts from Forman’s films and scenes from their making complemented by fragments from documentaries by Věra Chytilová (Chytilová versus Forman, 1981) and Jaromil Jireš (Miloš Forman – Das Kuckucksei, 1985) and, last but not least, private family footage.

The persona of Miloš Forman was a crucial figure in Helena Třeštíková’s life. The celebrated director achieved many prices in her career – won the main competition at the IFF Karlovy Vary twice (1998 - Sladké století; 2015 - Mallory), in 2010, Třeštíková won the Czech Lion award and her René triumphed at the 2008 European Film Awards. But if it weren’t for Miloš Forman, Třeštíková, according to her own words, would’ve never become a filmmaker.

“I loved his films since I was a girl. When I was 13, a miracle happened: I saw Audition. It changed my world. Suddenly, the life on screen was just like the life I knew in reality. The feeling that films were about some different, better world than mine was gone. Suddenly, I realized that film didn‛t have to create an illusion and instead, it could express a truth about life! To me, that was a crucial discovery. I fell in love with the films of the Czech New Wave and started dreaming of making films myself. To me, these films were a touch of freedom and became part of my feelings, emotions that later formed me, helped me find my own face, my own identity,” explains Třeštíková.

The narrator in the film is voiced by Forman’s son, Petr, who notices the documentary’s pronounced authenticity. “The film shows my dad as I knew him, what he was really like. Not only when he was working but also his candidness you see in the film. It isn’t the kind of documentary that only shows his achievements. It goes beyond that and tells you about him as a person,” says Petr Forman.

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