News The Karlovy Vary IFF to award director Václav Vorlíček

Published: April 25, 2017| 03:02 PM

The KVIFF President’s Award for artistic contribution to Czech film will be conferred upon screenwriter and director Václav Vorlíček at the 52nd Karlovy Vary IFF.

The renowned director, who will celebrate his 87th birthday shortly before the start of the festival, first graduated from Prague’s Film Academy (FAMU) then worked as an assistant director at Barrandov Film Studios before fully launching an independent career in the 1960s. His first movies were geared toward child audiences, and, although his work soon displayed genre diversity, he returned to entertaining kids throughout his career.

Václav Vorlíček teamed up with writer and director Miloš Macourek, his longtime colleague and friend, to form an original creative duo responsible for a distinctive chapter in the development of Czech film. Their poetic vision, in which real life comes up against elements of fantasy, remains unique to this day. Vorlíček and Macourek became masters of absurdity, of the genre paraphrase, of combining characters in the artificial world with those of reality. The top exemplars of their work along these lines are the “comic book” comedy Who Wants to Kill Jessie? (1966), the sci-fi crazy comedy You Are a Widow, Sir! (1970), the fairytale comedy The Girl on the Broomstick (1971), a comedy which employs fairytale motifs in contemporary Prague entitled How to Drown Dr. Mracek, the Lawyer

(1974), the TV series “Arabela” (1979-80) and “Flying Čestmír” (1983), and Rumburak (1984).

As mentioned above, the rich genre variety of Vorlíček’s work was rounded out with fairy tales in the 1970s and 1980s. Above all, Three Wishes for Cinderella (1973), awarded at a number of festivals, has become a Christmas holiday classic on Czech television, and despite the more than four decades since its release, each year it airs on TV to high ratings. Václav Vorlíček pursued another fairytale story in How to Wake up Princesses (1977), a loose adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, while the third in his series of fairytale modernizations became The Prince and the Evening Star (1978).

The fairytale genre is also typical of Vorlíček’s work of the past 20 years – The Firebird (1997) and Queen of the Lake (1998). His latest film to date was, Little Witch on a Broomstick (2011), a loose continuation of the successful Girl on the Broomstick.

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