Ingenious Czech-American Jan Tomas Forman (his formal name) was born in Caslavi on Febuary 18th, 1932.Both of his parents (Jewish father and protestant mother) died in Auschwitz concentration camp when he was just a little boy. What was the reason? His father belonged to the Czech Resistance group and his mother was dealing with an illegal grocery trade. The rest of his childhood/adulthood spent Forman living with his distant relatives as well as at the dorms of Podebrady’s public school. There he also met young Vaclav Havel (1st president of the Czech Republic) and Masin brothers ( who later started an armed anti-Communist resistance). After finishing high school he tried to get into the the University of Acting (DAMU) in Prague but without success. His second choice was the University of Film (FAMU), also located in Prague, and this time was Forman accepted. He graduated in 1968. His first major movie became the black-humored comedy “Cerny Petr” (Black Peter; 1963), which was followed by another debut “Loves of a Blond” (Lasky jedne plavovlasky; 1965). In 1967 he finished the “Fireman’s ball” (Hori, ma panenko; 1967), which was quickly forbidden by the government because it was “making fun of the common man”. When the Soviet tanks rumbled into Prague in 1968 Milos was in Paris working on his first American movie “Taking off”. The Czech studio for which he worked fired him, claiming that he had left the country illegally. Those circumstances led him to leave Europe and come to America where people already loved him for his unique film-making skills. Compared to the recently deceased Jan Benes (see my recent post on him), Forman’s first job in the United States was quite a breeze: he accepted a position as a professor of film at the Columbia University.
The first movie that made him famous in the New World was adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel “One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest” (1974) which won him five Oscars. Few years later Forman created “Amadeus”, another piece of art, which won him eight Oscars!
His most recent movie is called “Goya’s Ghosts” and it’s premiere in Prague was attended by Forman himself. To symbolically keep his ties with his former homeland Forman also agreed this year to direct- together with his sons Mathew and Peter – a jazz opera by Suchy and Slitr.
Forman took on the (real life) role of husband when he was only 19 years old. He married a well-known Czech beauty, an actress Jana Brejchova. From his second marriage with a singer Vera Kresadlova he has twin boys Peter and Mathew, who were born in 1964. His last and current marriage to a 32-year younger Martina Zborilova (Forman’s assistant; she also wrote a book on how they had met) brought him another set of twins, Andrew and James. They were born in 1998, the same year Forman’s “Man on the Moon” was finished and that’s also where he got his inspiration for the boys’ name: Andrew was named for Andy Kaufman and James for Jim Carrey. So, I wonder, when the Formans have a family reunion and the 43-year old Mathew and Peter are hanging out with their two 9-year old brothers, what do you think they are talking about? The weather???
CZ: Jan Tomas Forman (jeho puvodni jmeno) se narodil v Caslavi 18.unora 1932. Oba jeho rodice zahynuli v Osvetimskem koncentracnim tabore kdyz byl jeste velmi maly. Zbytek jeho detstvi a mladi ztravil Forman u pribuznych a v internatni skole v Podebradech. Tam se take seznamil s mladym Vaclavem Havlem a bratrimi Masinovymi. Neprijali ho na studium DAMU ale pozdeji ho vzali na Prazskou FAMU. Studium scenaristiky a dramaturgie dokoncil v roce 1968. Jeho prvnim celovecernim filmem se stala cerna komedie “Cerny Petr” (1963) a pote snimek “Lasky jedne plavovlasky” (1965) . Film “Hori ma panenko” (1967) byl komunisty zakazan a to proto, ze se “vysmiva obycejnym lidem”. Behem Prazskeho Jara byl Forman ve Francii, kde pracoval na jeho prvnim americkem filmu “Taking off”. Filmove studio, pro ktere pracoval, se ho v tuto dobu take rozhodlo vyhodit a to proto, ze pry odjel do zahranici nelegalne. Tato situace mu pouze ulehcila jeho rozhodnuti, aby emigroval do USA (New York). Lide ho tam diky jeho proslulym filmovym schopnostem znali a take uznavali. Poprve se tam ale opravdu proslavil filmem, adaptaci romanu Kena Keseyho “Prelet nad kukaccim hnizdem” (1974), ktery byl take ocenen peti Oskary. Dalsim jeho veledilem se stal film “Amadeus”, ktery mu vyhral celych 0sm Oskaru! Tento rok dokoncil film “Goyovy prizraky”, jehoz premieru v Praze slavnostne oslavil ve Slovanksem Dome. V dubnu take v Narodnim divadle reziroval spolu se svymi syny Matejem a Petrem jazzovou operu Sucheho a Slitra (Dobre placena prochazka).
Jiz v devatenacti letech se poprve ozenil a to se znamou krasavici – hereckou – Janou Brejchovou. Z druheho manzelstvi se zpevackou Verou Kresadlovou se mu narodili dvojcata, Petr a Matej. Potreti se ozenil s jeho o 32 let mladsi asistentkou Martinou Zborilovou, ktera o jejich seznameni vydala knihu. V roce 1998 se mu narodili opet dvojcata a to Andrew a James. Proc znenadani americka jmena? Inspiraci nasli rodice diky “Man on the Moon” (1998): Andrew podle Andyho Kaufmana a James podle Jima Carreyho. Tak si rikam, kdyz maji Formanovci nejakou tu rodinou akci a 43-leti Petr a Matej se naleznou sami v pokoji s jejich dvema 9-ti letymi bratry, o cem si asi tak povidaji? O pocasi??
Interview with Milos Forman: http://zakka.dk/euroscreenwriters/interviews/milos_forman.htm
Forman’s personal web page: http://www.milosforman.com/