Friday 8 February 2019

Vale Dušan Makavejev and Václav Vorlíček - Cerise Howard remembers two major East European film-makers

In the last fortnight two singular filmmakers whose work I've programmed recently, and long been enamoured of (their '60s and '70s works especially), have passed away. 
Sure, both were well advanced into their eighties, with their halcyon filmmaking days long behind them, but I'm saddened nonetheless by the passings from this realm of both Dušan Makavejev (on Jan 25) and, on Tuesday just gone, Václav Vorlíček.
Dusan Makavejev (in Paris)
While I never had any contact with Dušan Makavejev directly - negotiations re licensing his films for the Melbourne Cinémathèque last year were handled at his end by his wife, Bojana - I did have the pleasure of meeting Vorlíček in 2017 to interview him for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Festivalový deník. (Thanks once more, Veronika Bednarova, for arranging this!) 
Vorlíček's delight in being interviewed by a Westerner who knew and rated his work was evident; it was especially gratifying to let him know that when we screened WHO WANTS TO KILL JESSIE? at the Czech & Slovak Film Festival of Australia the year prior, it was followed by a discussion with Shaun Tan and Bernard Caleo about the many points of intersection between comic books and films, with JESSIE put forward as the most exemplary fusion of the two mediums then, and since.
The article that emerged from that interview can be found here on the Karlovy Vary festival website
And below is a lovely photo of me and Vorlíček who, very gamely at the age of 87, agreed to be interviewed stretched out on a lawn alongside a bustling arterial road in lieu of any more hospitable environment at our designated rendezvous, after the surly staff at the hospoda closest to his tram stop flatly refused to allow us to sit down in its empty, sun-kissed beer garden because it wasn't, strictly speaking, open for business yet that day, no matter that those same grinches probably watch his (remarkably feminist) THREE CHESTNUTS FOR CINDERELLA every single Xmas... No respect, some people!
Cerise Howard, Václav Vorlíček

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