Véra Chytilová

Active - 1960 - 2006  |   Born - Feb 2, 1929   |   Died - Mar 12, 2014   |   Genres - Comedy, Avant-garde / Experimental, Drama, Science Fiction

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Vera Chytilova was Czechoslovakia's first blatantly feminist filmmaker. She was originally aligned with that country's 'New Wave' of filmmakers and was noted for being among the most innovative and radical of them. Before breaking into directing by studying at the Prague Film School, Chytilova studied philosophy and architecture. She also performed assorted jobs including draftswoman, model, and script girl. Both her graduation film, Strop (1961), and her feature debut Pytel blech (1962) were initially banned by authorities for criticizing the role of women in Czech society. Both films were eventually combined and released as U stropu je pytel blech. In these and subsequent films, like her best known film, 1966's Sedmikrásky (Daisies), Chytilova used techniques of cinema verite (often using non-professional actors) to make her stories more realistic. Her post-New Wave films are presented from the feminist view and encourage audience participation to create meaning and truth. To this end, most of her film conclusions are inconclusive. Her feminist films continued to get her in trouble with authorities, and between 1969 and 1975, she was forbidden to work. Finally, in 1975, she wrote a letter to the Czech president explaining her films and the problems she faced in making them, and she was again allowed to make films. She continued to work steadily through 2006, when she released her last film Hezké chvilky bez záruky (Pleasant Memories). She died in 2014 at age 85.

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