František Vláčil

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František Vláčil
Born (1924-02-19) 19 February 1924 (age 94)
Český Těšín, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic)
Died 28 January 1999
Prague, Czech Republic
Occupation Actor, director, screenwriter
Years active 1951–1987
Spouse(s) Věra Vláčilová

František Vláčil (February 19, 1924, Český Těšín – January 28, 1999, Prague) was a Czech film director, painter, and graphic artist.

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.[1][2] His film Marketa Lazarová is considered the best Czech film ever made.[3][4]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6]

Military film[edit]

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.[7][8] 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.[9] 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.[6] 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.[9] Clouds of Glass won an award at the Documentary and Short Film Festival in Venice.[10] Vláčil left the army in 1958.

Barrandov[edit]

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[7]

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.[12] 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. [13]

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.[13]

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.[13][7]

Problems with alcohol[edit]

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.[7][14]

Filmography[edit]

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[15][16]
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.[17]
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.[18]
1967 Údolí včel Valley of the Bees Yes Yes 97 minutes
1970 Adelheid Adelheid Yes Yes 99 minutes
1973 Pověst o stříbrné jedli The Legend of the Silver Fir[19] Yes Yes 54 minutes Inspired by a legend from Beskydy Mountains.[20]
1975 Sirius Sirius Yes No 50 minutes
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[21] Yes No 102 minutes Based on life of Antonín Dvořák.[22]
1982 Hadí jed Snake's Venom Yes Yes 84 minutes Inspired by Vláčil's own problems with alcohol.[23]
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[24]

Short films[edit]

Year Czech Title English Title Director Writer Length Notes
1950 Hospodaření s elektřinou Electricity Management Yes Yes 12 minutes Propagation film[25]
1950 Lék č. 2357 Cure N. 2357 Yes Yes 14 minutes
1951 Tepelná revoluce Thermal Revolution Yes No Educational film[26]
1951 Úrazy elektřinou v průmyslu Accidents by electricity in industry Yes No
1953 Vzpomínka Remembrance Yes Yes 19 minutes
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[27]
1958 Sebeobrana Self-Defense Yes Yes 10 Minutes
1958 Skleněná oblaka Clouds of Glass Yes Yes 20 minutes Vláčil's directorial debut.[28]
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.[29]
1974 Praha secesní Art Nouveau's Prague Yes Yes 19 minutes
1989 Pražský Odysseus Prague's Odysseus Yes Yes 20 minutes

As actor[edit]

Year Czech Title English Title Notes
1959 Pět z milionu Five of Million Cameo role as Franta.[30]
1963 Spanilá jízda Beautiful ride Hejsek[31]
1984 Slavnosti sněženek The Snowdrop Festival Cameo as an old man.[32]
1985 Vesničko má středisková My Sweet Little Village Cameo role as an old sick man named František who bears some traits similar to Vláčil.[33]
1987 Potichu Quietly Student film, Vláčil's only main role.[34]
1989 Rakovina vůle Cancer of Will

Accolades[edit]

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 [35]
1962 Locarno Festival Special recognition by film press The Devil's Trap Won [36]
1965 Artistic competition at 20th anniversary of Liberation of Czechoslovakia The main award for feature-lengh film The Devil's Trap Won [36]
The main award for writing Marketa Lazarová Won
1967 Trilobit Award Best Director Marketa Lazarová Won [37]
1968 Mar del Plata International Film Festival Best Film Marketa Lazarová Nominated [38]
Little Condor for artistic and historical values Marketa Lazarová Won [39]
Minister of Culture Award Lyrical and artistically inventive work Marketa Lazarová Won [37]
Klement Gottwald State Award Writing and realisation Marketa Lazarová Won [40][41]
Financial award for evaluation of Barandov Studio The most successful film Marketa Lazarová Won [36]
1975 Gotwaldov Festival of films for Children Special jury award for Direction Sirius Won [36]
1976 Festival of Czech and Slovak films in Brno Artistc and emotionally impressve capture of atmosphere of resistance against Fascist terror Sirius Won [36]
1977 15th Festival of Czech and Slovak films Special award for director Smoke on the Potato Fields Won [36]
1978 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Crystal Globe for the Best Film Shadows of a Hot Summer Won [42]
1979 Klement Gotwald State Awards Shadows of a Hot Summer Won [36]
1992 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Crystal Globe for the Best Film Marketa Lazarová Nominated [43]
1993 Czech Lion Awards Lifetime Work and Extraordinary Contribution to Czech Cinema Won [44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rozhovor s Janem Kačerem". www.ceskenoviny.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  2. ^ televize, Česká. "Příběhy slavných: Osudové opojení Františka Vláčila". www.ceskatelevize.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "Režiséra Františka Vláčila bude od ledna připomínat pamětní deska. Zaplatí ji Praha 6". Metro.cz. 29 December 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  4. ^ "Režisér Markety Lazarové bude mít od ledna v Praze 6 pamětní desku". Lidovky.cz. 29 December 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  5. ^ "Nostalghia.cz - Marketa Lazarová". www.nostalghia.cz. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Filmy". www.nostalghia.cz. Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d Baldýnský, Tomáš. "Causa František Vláčil". www.nostalghia.cz. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  8. ^ Novosad, Martin. "František Vláčil - básník filmového obrazu". www.nostalghia.cz. Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Neznámé filmy Františka Vláčila". www.nostalghia.cz. Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  10. ^ "Skleněná oblaka". www.nostalghia.cz. Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  11. ^ a.s., Economia, (5 February 1999). "František Vláčil neodešel..." Hospodářské noviny (in Czech). Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  12. ^ a b 2003-2017, Filmová databáze s.r.o. (FDb.cz),. "František Vláčil". FDb.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c "František Vláčil". ČSFD.cz. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  14. ^ "František Vláčil: Sám sobě nepřítelem". Šíp (in Czech). 2 February 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  15. ^ Osborne, Lovejoy, Alice (2014). Army Film and the Avant Garde: Cinema and Experiment in the Czechoslovak Military. Indiana University Press. p. 154. ISBN 9780253014931. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  16. ^ "Nosit kameru je lepší než nosit zbraň | DOK.REVUE". www.dokrevue.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  17. ^ "Ďáblova past (1961) | Zajímavosti". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  18. ^ Marketa Lazarová on kfilmu.net (in Czech)
  19. ^ "Pověst o stříbrné jedli (Film, Drama): Reviews, Ratings, Cast and Crew - Rate Your Music". ru.rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  20. ^ "Pověst o stříbrné jedli (1973)". Filmový přehled (in Czech). Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  21. ^ "Koncert na konci léta (Film): Reviews, Ratings, Cast and Crew - Rate Your Music". ru.rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  22. ^ "Koncert na konci léta (1979) | Zajímavosti". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  23. ^ "Hadí jed (1981) | Zajímavosti". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  24. ^ "Mág (1987) | Zajímavosti". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  25. ^ "Hospodaření elektřinou (1950)". Filmový přehled (in Czech). Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  26. ^ "Thermal Revolution". Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  27. ^ "VHU PRAHA". www.vhu.cz. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  28. ^ "Skleněná oblaka (1958) | Zajímavosti". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  29. ^ "Vyprávěj mi o Praze / Kerro minulle Prahasta (1973)". Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  30. ^ "Pět z milionu (1959) | Zajímavosti". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  31. ^ "Český Film - znalostní databáze". libri.cz. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  32. ^ "Slavnosti sněženek (1983) | Zajímavosti". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  33. ^ "Vesničko má středisková (1985) | Zajímavosti". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  34. ^ "Český Film - znalostní databáze". libri.cz. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  35. ^ "C I N E P U R / Holubice". cinepur.cz. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  36. ^ a b c d e f g "František Vláčil – Filmový přehled". Filmový přehled (in Czech). Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  37. ^ a b 2003-2017, Filmová databáze s.r.o. (FDb.cz),. "Marketa Lazarová (1967)". FDb.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  38. ^ "Marketa Lazarová". IMDB. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 
  39. ^ "Festival Internacional de cine (Mar del plata 1968)". www.ecured.cu (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  40. ^ "František Pavlíček" (PDF). National Film Archive. Retrieved 17 August 2017. 
  41. ^ "František Vláčil" (PDF). National Film Archive. Retrieved 17 August 2017. 
  42. ^ Ceska Televize;. "Stíny horkého léta — Česká televize". Česká televize (in Czech). Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  43. ^ "Mezinárodní Filmový Festival Karlovy Vary 1992". www.nafilmy.com (in Czech). Retrieved 17 August 2017. 
  44. ^ televize, Česká. "František Vláčil — Lidé — Česká televize". www.ceskatelevize.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 22 August 2017. 

External links[edit]