Forman vs Forman (2020)

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FORMAN VS FORMAN poster

Screening as part of the 2020 Perth Revelation Film Festival’s COUCHED online line-up from July 9th-19th.To purchase tickets, see schedules and additional information visit the official page HERE 

RevCouched Revelation Film Festival 2020

FORMAN vs FORMAN (2020)

A review by Adam Lovett

Director(s): Jakub Hejna, Helena Trestíková

Starring: Milos Forman

Oscar winning Director Milos Formans’ daunting filmography includes ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST, AMADEUS, THE PEOPLE VERSUS LARRY FLYNT and MAN ON THE MOON. That alone would be enough to warrant an examination of his life but as the documentary FORMAN vs. FORMAN reveals his personal story is one that carries all the themes and ideals of his work. The pulsing desire for freedom of expression, of self. An inherit revolution against oppressive authority, or limitations. As he says of making ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST, “…For me it’s real life. I lived that. The Communist party was my big nurse telling me what to do, what to say, what not to say, what not to do…“

This intimate journey largely told by Forman himself through archival footage and interviews is a sweeping epic in it’s own right. Born in Czechoslavakia in 1932, an orphan before he entered his teens. We begin by discovering that his mother died in Auschwitz. The following year Forman’s father Rudolf Forman, a Professor was abducted and tortured to death by the Gestapo for distributing banned books.

The profound impact this had on a confused, young future filmmaker is hard to grasp even when he walks us through his feelings at the time. Add to that trauma the fact that it’s later revealed he was actually the product of an affair his mother had and the cavernous dimensions of an independent, enigmatic soul are forming.

Meanwhile, there is the rise of Communism in his homeland and the repulsion and boredom of propaganda movies that saturated the market. Italian neo-realism inspiring the need for “truth”, real human emotions are at the core of his early works BLACK PETER and LOVES OF A BLONDE. The international breakthrough coming with THE FIREMAN’S BALL while in his mid-twenties.

That’s the foundation of what made the man tick and it’s only a taste of why the documentary is a must-see not just for cinema lovers but those fascinated by the power of the creative spirit in any medium. Directors Jakub Hejna, Helena Trestíková wisely let their documentary evolve in a way that emphasizes what defined Milos as a human being as well as an artist. Like their muse using a considerate visual and auditory hand to punctuate points and allow the story to carry circumstantial emotional weight that reveals character. The documentary is a lens going deep into its subject to reveal the heart of an artist.

Watch the trailer for FORMAN vs, FORMAN

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