Milos Forman: What Doesn't Destroy You...: The Czech Director Deserves a Better Profile

After his Oscars for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, the career of Czech-born director Miloš Forman has gradually stalled into eminent stasis. As this overly respectful and insidery 2009 doc catches up with the now 80-year-old emigre, his much younger third wife and two preteen sons in tow, he's lending his name to an opera production, assisted by the twin sons he left behind in Czechoslovakia four decades earlier. Poorly organized, and with no narrator or outside context, the doc occasionally identifies Forman's family members, but mainly we're left guessing who's who. Testimonials from the acting talent—Javier Bardem, Annette Bening, Woody Harrelson, etc.—have obviously been pulled from old press junkets. It's an embarrassingly cheap, shoddy approach employed by director Milos Smídmajer, whose tedious film appears to have been made for Czech TV (with many English subtitles). It follows Forman and his young family from the Hamptons back to his ancestral Czech village, where he relates how his parents were taken to the Nazi death camps—a well-known story that, again, could've used some outside editorial prodding. Though his last released film, 2006's Goya's Ghosts, was an historical muddle, Forman is entitled to rest on his laurels. But that doesn't mean we need to watch him rest on his laurels. However, SIFF is launching a Tuesday-night "Films of Miloš Forman" series on Sept. 4 with Loves of a Blonde. That, at least, we can strongly recommend.

 
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