Industry Spotlight: Milos Forman
Print Lifestyle Editor Anna Romanovska remembers the legendary career of filmmaker Milos Forman.
But why should he be remembered? Easy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest managed to win five Oscars. Yet, that isn’t the most important reason. Though his career was based outside of the Czech borders, he never severed the connection to his home country. In addition to that, his cult movies caused and continue to cause shifts not only within the cultural world but within fights against institutionalised oppression and conformism as well. The Fireman’s Ball, an iconic Czech movie, is celebrated to this day as an emblem of anti-conformism. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest even contributed to the counterculture movement against archaic norms surrounding social control and psychiatric care. Safe to say, Forman’s significance cannot be ignored, nor can it be kept within the confines of the film world.
Milos Forman, the famed director of gems such as Man on the Moon and Amadeus, secured the jumpstart to international acclaim after emigrating to the United States from Czechoslovakia in 1968.
It [One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest] served as a portrayal of life under the two totalitarian regimes that controlled Czechoslovakia in the twentieth century.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is not just an ode to Ken Kesey’s critically acclaimed novel. It served as a portrayal of life under the two totalitarian regimes that controlled Czechoslovakia in the twentieth century. Milos Forman embedded himself into the character of McMurphy and embodied both the Nazis and the Communists in Nurse Ratched. Such a strong cultural expression, including the high praise it received, allowed its mostly Western audience to gain an understanding and awareness of what was going on behind the closed doors of the Czechoslovak border.
For me, Milos Forman signifies the possibility to keep in touch with your roots even after leaving your homeland. He provided me with a greater understanding of what it means to be Czech and has even inspired much of my university work regarding Czech cultural history and psychiatric norms.
He is a figure that needs to be remembered, especially after his death.