Friday, 23 February 2018



- Manoj Kulkarni

 Today is 80th birthday of renowned Czech Filmmaker, Screenwriter & Actor..Jiri Menzel!

Renowned Czech Filmmaker Jiri Menzel at young age!

I first got introduction of Jiri Menzel's genre of Czeck cinema through his retrospective in 'MAMI's '3rd International Film Festival' at Mumbai in 2000. There I watched his all important films and impressed by his cinematic excellence!

Basically an actor of stage & film..Jiri Menzel studied direction in 'Prague Film School' during 1958 to 1962..the time which produced a generation of Czech New Wave filmmakers! He started working at 'Kratky Film Prague' as assistant to prominent filmmaker Vera Chytilova..and then in 'Barrandov Film Studios'!
Famous scene of Jiri Menzel's 'Oscar' winner 'Closely Watched Trains' (1966).
After making short documentary 'Concert '65' he co-directed a segment of Czechoslovak anthology film 'Pearls of the Deep' (1966) based on short story by Bohumil Hrabal. Then same year he independently directed his first feature film 'Closely Watched Trains' on Hrabal's novel only. It was a coming-of-age story about young man working at railway station in German-occupied area during World War II. This black humour kind film won 'Best Foreign Language Oscar'!

Novel based Menzel's film 'Capricious Summer' (1968).
Immediately Jiri Menzel became internationally famous. Then he made some films on classic literature like 'Capricious Summer' (1968) a humorous story of three men..based on the novel of Vladislav Vancura! Then his controversial film 'Larks on a String' (1969) released after the fall of Communist regime (1990). And won 'Golen Bear' at '40th Berlin International Film Festival'!  His films combine humanistic view of the world with sarcasm & provocative cinematography!
Romantic scene of Menzel's Czech Film 'Larks on a String' (1969).
He made films with different subjects but related to human life like social 'Who looks for God?' (1974), on ordinary family life 'Seclusion Near a Forest' (1976), focusing survival of people 'Cutting It Short' (1980) and on lives, hobbies & relationship 'The Snowdrop Festival' (1984) in which writer Hrabal also played small part! In this popular 'My Sweet Little Village' (1985) was a comedy about the people who inhabit a small town!

Funny scene of Film 'My Sweet Little Village' (1985).
In 2002 again he co-directed film 'The Minutes Older'..the project conceived by producer Nicolas McClintock as a reflection on the theme of time at the turn of the which fifteen renowned filmmakers were co-directors like Istavan Szabo (Hungary), Bertolucci (Italy), Herzog (Germany) & Godard (France). All they created their own visions of what time means in ten this Menzel directed 'One Moment'! In 2013 he independently directed 'The Don Juans' English name 'Skirt Chasers' was that kind comedy which was the re-edited version of mini-series aired on Czech TV!
Menzel's Film 'The Don Juans' (2013).

Jiri Menzel was a member of the jury at prestigious international film festivals like Berlin & Moscow! In 2013 after 'IIFA' he was honoured with 'Lifetime Achievement Award' in our '44th International Film Festival of India', Goa..And that time I had a nice interaction with him in the informal meeting at the festival dinner party!

Best Wishes and Regards for the good health to Mr. Jiri Menzel!!

- Manoj Kulkarni
[Chitrasrushti', Pune, India']

I am with renowned Czech Filmmaker Jiri Menzel in the dinner party of our '44th International Film Festival of India' at Goa!

No comments:

Post a Comment