Milos Forman's film finally takes off
On Wednesday night Milos Forman's film, "Taking Off" premiered in the Czech Republic, no less than 35 years after it was made. Milos Forman was one of the pioneers of the Czech new wave in cinema in the 1960s. Following the Soviet invasion in 1968, he emigrated to America where he launched a successful career with films One Flew over a Cuckoo's Nest, Hair, the People vs Larry Flint and more recently Man on the Moon. His first American film, Taking Off was banned in the former Czechoslovakia and it was not until this week that it had its first official screening in the country of Forman's birth. The screening was part of a larger cultural event called Project 100. Nikola Brabenec spoke to one of the organizers, Ivo Andrle at the event.
"We started with some twenty-eight cinemas in 1994 and now a hundred and ten cinemas in the Czech Republic participate in this project. Originally, we only planned to do the project for ten years as it is called Project 100 because in ten years we wanted to bring a hundred movies but last year we made a decision to go ahead and keep bringing movies to Czech cinemas. We believe there are new and new generations growing up that should and would like to see them."
The premiere was a festive event with an enthusiastic audience, special guests and Moravian wine. Rumour had it that perhaps Milos Forman would be making a surprise visit. Although he was not able to appear in the flesh, he did send a greeting via video.
"Good day! I am glad that you came to watch the film today, I really like it, not for artistic reasons or anything- it was my first English film and I wanted to make it the same way we made films in Czechoslovakia- we would look around, see what's happening and put together a story from that. I am proud that in this film Tina Turner first appeared on screen, and Carly Simon and Cathy Bates, well, what should I tell you, if possible, enjoy yourselves."
Although it has taken 35 years for the film to debut in Forman's country of origin, the themes were not dated and the delay did not seem to dampen the audience's enthusiasm:
"I liked it very much, I thought it was a fun film, I liked its playfulness, it was very easy to digest, even though it is not just an easy going film, there is something to it."
" I have never seen, "Taking Off." It was the only film by Forman that I had not seen. So I just wanted to catch up and it was wonderful, I really enjoyed it."