19 February 1924 |
Český Těšín, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic)
|Died||28 January 1999
Prague, Czech Republic
|Occupation||Actor, director, screenwriter|
Between 1945 and 1950, he studied esthetics and art history at Masaryk University in Brno. Later he worked in various groups and ateliers (e.g. on animated films), but his main area became played film. His films are well known for extraordinarily high art quality. Vláčil was awarded many film prizes like the Prize of the International Film Festival 1998 in Karlovy Vary or the Czech Lion Prize for his longstanding contribution to world film culture. In 1998 Vláčil was voted the greatest Czech director of all time by a poll of Czech film critics. His film Marketa Lazarová is considered the best Czech film ever made.
He spent childhood in north Moravia. He shortly studied Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague but switched to the faculty of Arts at Masaryk University. He finished his studies in 1951. He was interested in filmmaking during his studies and worked as a screenwriter in Brno Cartoon and puppet film studio. He later went to newly formed Studio of Popular Scientific and Educational Films. He made 4 short documentary films in the studio.
Vláčil worked in a studio of Czechoslovak military film during his compulsory military service. He was in the military from 1951 to 1958. He met with cinematographer Jan Čuřík with whom he frequently collaborated during his career. He also met another director Karel Kachyňa. Vláčil's short films made in the military studio were mostly instructory and propagandist. His first film was a 1953 short Vzpomínka that commemorated deceased communist president Klement Gottwald. Another of his film shorts is a documentary Posádka na štítě that is about meteorologists working on Lomnický štít. The film shows contrast between a man and mountains. Vláčil also participated in the filmmaking of other directors. In 1955, Vláčil participated as an adviser in the making of the war film, Tank Brigade. He coordinated battle scenes. His last military short was an instructory and motivational film Sebeobrana. He also made a short film Clouds of Glass which is considered his finest creation while in the army. It is the only film that Vláčil made in the military and was not determined by politics or genre. Clouds of Glass won an award at the Documentary and Short Film Festival in Venice. Vláčil left the army in 1958.
Vláčil was employed at Barrandov Studios. He debuted with a short film "The Chase" (segment of No Entrance). The film is about two members of the border-guard who chase an enemy agent. The film not a regular story about the border-guard but features a strong focus on the beauties of nature. He made his first full-lengh film The White Dove in 1960. The film received positive reviews and some awards. He made a historical film The Devil's Trap that was also a success. His next film was a historical drama Marketa Lazarová. He worked six years on the film. He collaborated with significant designers of costumes and decorations, Theodor Pištěk, Jan Koblasa and others. The film was highly acclaimed and was voted the all-time best Czech movie in a prestigious 1998 poll of Czech film critics and publicists. The film was also very expensive and Vláčil was forced to make The Valley of the Bees, another historical film. The Valley of the Bees used the same decorations so the expenditures of Markéta Lazarová could partially be repaid. The film starred Petr Čepek. Vláčil then worked with Čepek on his next film Adelheid.
During the Normalization era, Vláčil was not allowed to make feature films and had to leave Barrandov Studio. He made some shorts films such as Art Nouveau's Prague. He was allowed to make another full-length film in 1976, it was a drama Smoke on the Potato Fields. His next film, thriller Shadows of a Hot Summer, won a Crystal Globe. 
Vláčil started to work with screenwriter Zdeněk Mahler and together they worked on some films. They made a biographical film Concert at the End of Summer. It was followed by other significant films Snake's Venom, Shades of Fern and Magician. These were his last films before he retired.
After Velvet Revolution, Vláčil received a number of awards. He won Czech Lion for Lifetime Work and Extraordinary Contribution to Czech Cinema and became the President of Czech Film and Television Academy. In 1997, Vláčil broke his left leg and was hospitalized. He was operated on but his operation was unsuccessful and had to be re-operated. The second operation was successful and he was allowed to leave hospital. He was only one day home when he fell into unconsciousness due to heart arrhythmia. He never recovered and died on 27 January 1999.
Problems with alcohol
When Vláčil started to make his own projects in 1960s, he started heavily drinking. Alcohol helped him in his work. It helped him to reach his visions. His problems with alcohol worsened after he made Markéta Lazarová. After he finished the film, he looked "like a living Skeleton." When he finished Adelheid, he collapsed. He underwent therapy and made Smoke on the Potato Field without alcohol. His favourite scene wasn't included in the film because it was destroyed. As a result, Vláčil starts drinking again. His alcoholism wasn't helping his work anymore. After Shadows of a Hot Summer quality of his films started decreasing. He tried to fight his alcoholism by making Snake's Venom. Vláčil's alcoholism led him to lose his family and friends.
|Year||Czech Title||English Title||Director||Writer||Length||Notes|
|1953||Létání bez vidu podle systému OSP||Flying Blind Using System OSP||Yes||Yes||49 minutes||Instructational colour film|
|1960||Vstup zakázán||Entry forbidden||Yes||Yes||77 minutes||Vláčil directed segment "The Chase"|
|1960||Holubice||The White Dove||Yes||Yes||76 minutes|
|1962||Ďáblova past||The Devil's Trap||Yes||No||85 minutes||Based on a novel Mlýn na ponorné řece by Alfréd Technik.|
|1967||Marketa Lazarová||Marketa Lazarova||Yes||Yes||165 minutes||Voted the all-time best Czech movie in a prestigious 1998 poll
of Czech film critics and publicists.
|1967||Údolí včel||Valley of the Bees||Yes||Yes||97 minutes|
|1973||Pověst o stříbrné jedli||The Legend of the Silver Fir||Yes||Yes||54 minutes||Inspired by a legend from Beskydy Mountains.|
|1977||Dým bramborové natě||Smoke on the Potato Fields||Yes||Yes||95 minutes|
|1978||Stíny horkého léta||Shadows of a Hot Summer||Yes||No||99 minutes|
|1980||Koncert na konci léta||Concert at the End of Summer||Yes||No||102 minutes||Based on life of Antonín Dvořák.|
|1982||Hadí jed||Snake's Venom||Yes||Yes||84 minutes||Inspired by Vláčil's own problems with alcohol.|
|1984||Pasáček z doliny||Little Hersman from the Valley||Yes||No||90 minutes||Based on a novella by Antonín Fuks.|
|1985||Albert||Albert||Yes||No||70 minutes||Based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy.|
|1986||Stín kapradiny||Shades of a Fern||Yes||Yes||90 minutes||Based on novel by Josef Čapek|
|1988||Mág||Magician||Yes||No||87 minutes||Vláčil's last film. Based on life of Karel Hynek Mácha|
|Year||Czech Title||English Title||Director||Writer||Length||Notes|
|1950||Hospodaření s elektřinou||Electricity Management||Yes||Yes||12 minutes||Propagation film|
|1950||Lék č. 2357||Cure N. 2357||Yes||Yes||14 minutes|
|1951||Tepelná revoluce||Thermal Revolution||Yes||No||Educational film|
|1951||Úrazy elektřinou v průmyslu||Accidents by electricity in industry||Yes||No|
|1956||Dopis z fronty||Letter from front||Yes||Yes||23 minutes|
|1956||Posádka na štítě||Garrison in the Peak||Yes||Yes||13 minutes|
|1957||Vojenská maturita||Military Graduation||Yes||Yes||16 minutes|
|1958||Lesy našich vojenských prostorů||Forests of our Training Areas||Yes||Yes||9 minutes||Documentary|
|1958||Skleněná oblaka||Clouds of Glass||Yes||Yes||20 minutes||Vláčil's directorial debut.|
|1972||Město v bílém||The Town in White||Yes||Yes||15 minutes|
|1973||Karlovarské promenády||The Promenades in Karlovy Vary||Yes||Yes||15 minutes|
|1973||Vyprávěj mi o Praze||Tell Me About Prague||Yes||Yes||30 minutes||Documentary for Finnish television.|
|1974||Praha secesní||Art Nouveau's Prague||Yes||Yes||19 minutes|
|1989||Pražský Odysseus||Prague's Odysseus||Yes||Yes||20 minutes|
|Year||Czech Title||English Title||Notes|
|1959||Pět z milionu||Five of Million||Cameo role as Franta.|
|1963||Spanilá jízda||Beautiful ride||Hejsek|
|1984||Slavnosti sněženek||The Snowdrop Festival||Cameo as an old man.|
|1985||Vesničko má středisková||My Sweet Little Village||Cameo role as an old sick man named František who bears some traits similar to Vláčil.|
|1987||Potichu||Quietly||Student film, Vláčil's only main role.|
|1989||Rakovina vůle||Cancer of Will|
|Date of ceremony||Award||Category||Film||Result||Ref(s)|
|1960||Venice International Film Festival||Medal of the Biennial - Out of Competition||The White Dove||Won|||
|1962||Locarno Festival||Special recognition by film press||The Devil's Trap||Won|||
|1965||Artistic competition at 20th anniversary of Liberation of Czechoslovakia||The main award for feature-lengh film||The Devil's Trap||Won|||
|The main award for writing||Marketa Lazarová||Won|
|1967||Trilobit Award||Best Director||Marketa Lazarová||Won|||
|1968||Mar del Plata International Film Festival||Best Film||Marketa Lazarová||Nominated|||
|Little Condor for artistic and historical values||Marketa Lazarová||Won|||
|Minister of Culture Award||Lyrical and artistically inventive work||Marketa Lazarová||Won|||
|Klement Gottwald State Award||Writing and realisation||Marketa Lazarová||Won|||
|Financial award for evaluation of Barandov Studio||The most successful film||Marketa Lazarová||Won|||
|1975||Gotwaldov Festival of films for Children||Special jury award for Direction||Sirius||Won|||
|1976||Festival of Czech and Slovak films in Brno||Artistc and emotionally impressve capture of atmosphere of resistance against Fascist terror||Sirius||Won|||
|1977||15th Festival of Czech and Slovak films||Special award for director||Smoke on the Potato Fields||Won|||
|1978||Karlovy Vary International Film Festival||Crystal Globe for the Best Film||Shadows of a Hot Summer||Won|||
|1979||Klement Gotwald State Awards||Shadows of a Hot Summer||Won|||
|1992||Karlovy Vary International Film Festival||Crystal Globe for the Best Film||Marketa Lazarová||Nominated|||
|1993||Czech Lion Awards||Lifetime Work and Extraordinary Contribution to Czech Cinema||Won|||
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