"I discovered very soon that you can speak different languages and have different customs, but human nature is the same everywhere."—Milos Forman
This April, the Wexner Center presents a monthlong, seven-film retrospective of the work of two-time Academy Award winning director Milos Forman. Forman will visit on April 4 to introduce Taking Off, his first American film. This series will include work made in his native Czechoslovakia and his work in America (including such classics as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus).
Forman has been making films of remarkable wit and insight for more than 40 years, first in Czechoslovakia and, after the 1968 Soviet invasion, in the United States. No matter how disparate they seem on the surface, his works are united by the director’s deep empathy for his characters, especially those marching to the beat of their own drum.
Notes Dave Filipi, a curator in the Wexner Center’s media arts department: “Milos Forman is at the front rank of transplanted filmmakers who’ve contributed so much to the vitality of American cinema. This brief tribute just begins to touch at the depth of this remarkable filmmaker’s body of work.”
A video slideshow of Forman’s work, narrated by Filipi is available here.
The series begins Thursday, April 3. Tickets for each night of the series are $7 general public; $5 members, students, and senior citizens; $3 children under 12, except for the visit by Forman, which is $8 general public and $6 for members students and senior citizens. All films will be screened in the center’s state-of-the-art Film/Video Theater, 1871 N. High St. More information: 614 292-3535 or www.wexarts.org.
This touring retrospective was organized by Jytte Jensen, curator in the department of film at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, with the kind collaboration of the Czech Center New York; The National Film Archive, Prague; and Irena Kovarova, independent film curator and tour manager.
Convenient parking is available in Ohio State’s Ohio Union Garage and Arps Garage, both with entrances from North High Street and College Road. Parking is also available nearby at the South Campus Gateway Garage, located one block east of North Street between 9th and 11th Avenues.
A complete schedule follows.
MILOS FORMAN SCHEDULE
Thursday, April 3
7 pm: Loves of a Blonde (1965). 88 mins.
Forman’s breakthrough film follows the everyday life and sexual awakening of a naïve teenage girl, tempering its clear-sighted look at the realities of life under a repressive regime with the director’s tender optimism.
Friday, April 4
INTRODUCED BY MILOS FORMAN
7 pm: Taking Off (1971). 93 mins.
Forman teamed with writers Jean-Claude Carrière and John Guare for his first American film, an extraordinarily fresh look at youthful counter-culture and the cluelessness of parents in comprehending it. Featuring an electrifying performance by Ike and Tina Turner. With Buck Henry, Lynn Carlin.
Saturday, April 5
7 pm: The Fireman’s Ball (1967). 71 mins.
8:20 pm: Audition (1963). 77 mins.
Forman’s last film in his homeland, The Firemen’s Ball has been called the finest example of the Czech New Wave’s trademark mix of warm humanism joined to stinging social commentary. Here the focus is a small-town fire department’s hapless attempt to throw a party, which quickly collapses into comic mayhem.
Audition, his first major work, mixes documentary and fiction in a humorous vein as it charts the dreams and delusions of people involved in different kinds of competition, set to a stirring soundtrack of Czech pop, folk, and classical music.
Thursday, April 10
7 pm: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). 133 mins.
Based on Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest provides Jack Nicholson with one of his signature roles as a convict imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital, taunted by the formidable Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). A rallying cry against conformity, the film was the second movie ever to win all five major Academy Awards, including Forman’s first as Best Director.
Thursday, April 17
7 pm: Amadeus (1984). 180 mins.
Filmed on location in Prague, Amadeus brought Forman back to his homeland for an adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s play, dissecting the rivalry between the mediocre composer Salieri and his “unworthy” rival, Mozart.
A visually lavish period piece, the film confidently moves between fact and fiction, meticulous detail and jarring anachronism. Forman received his second Best Director Oscar, and actor F. Murray Abraham also won for his acid portrayal of Salieri. With Tom Hulce. This print is the R-rated “director’s cut.”
Thursday, April 24
7 pm: Black Peter (1964). 85 mins.
Forman’s first fiction film, Black Peter uses nonprofessional actors and improvisational techniques to tell the story of a young grocery clerk desperately trying to escape from a dead-end existence. Forman renders the tale with extraordinary empathy.
SEASON AND EVENT SUPPORT
Major support for the Wexner Center’s 2007–08 film/video season is generously provided by Abercrombie & Fitch.
Significant contributions are also made by the Rohauer Collection Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members.