Loves of a Blonde (1965): Milos Forman’s Charming, Oscar Nominated Czech Satire

Czech-born, U.S.-based Milos Forman is a well resected filmmaker who has won two Directing Oscars, in 1975, for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and in 1984, for “Amadeus.” He was also nominated for Best Director in 1996 for “The People Vs. Larry Flynt.”

Forman was born on February 18, 1932 in slav, Czechoslovakia. His mother Anna (ne Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and his father, Rudolf Forman, was a professor. His father was arrested for distributing banned books during the Nazi occupation and died in Buchenwald in 1944, and his mother died in Auschwitz in 1943. Forman lived with relatives during World War II and later discovered that his biological father was a Jewish architect.

After WWII, Forman attended King George College public school in the spa town Podbrady, where his fellow students were Vclav Havel and the Man brothers. He then studied writing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

Loves of a Blonde

Forman directed several Czech serio-comedies, such “Loves of a Blonde,” in 1965, and “The Firemen’s Ball,” in 1967.

“Loves of a Blonde,” his third feature, was a charming, bitter-sweet Czech comedy, about a young woman in a small factory town, who falls in love with a traveling musician and pursues him all the way to his family’s home in Prague.

Forman based his story on an incident from his past, trying to create a realistic look by shooting on location in a small Czech town with a shoe factory, using a largely non-professional cast, and relying on improvisation.

Andula is a working-class young woman living in a small and provincial Czech factory town, where, due to oversight in central state planning, women outnumber men 16–1.

In the opening scene, Andula and her friend discussing the ring given to Andula by her boyfriend Tonda and gossiping about her meeting a flirtatious forest ranger.

When factory supervisor realizes the negative impact of gender disparity on morale and productivity, he asks an army officer to organize military maneuvers near the town. The factory sponsors a dance at which the workers can find male companions.

Irony prevails: While the girls dream of meeting their prince charming, it turns out that many of the soldiers are married middle-aged reservists, resulting in disappointment.  Andula and her friends, turned off by the unappealing soldiers–they call them “old buffers.”

For their part, the men make fools of themselves, like sending a bottle of wine to the wrong table and dropping a wedding ring on the floor

For most attendees, the evening is a disaster, and the girls devise ways to escape their pursuers and the aging reservists. Andula flirts with Milda, the big-city pianist of the band, and they go to bed, after he struggles to shut a stubborn window shade.  Before parting, he offhandedly invites her to visit him in Prague.

She breaks off with Tonda, who then demands his ring back. Packing up her suitcase, she arrives on Milda’s place in the big city, ready to resume their romance.

Milda is not home, and she meets his parents, who have never heard of her. They offer to put the girl up for the night on the sofa, which forces Milda to sleep in their bed.  Realizing that she is not desired, Andula, heartbroken, leaves Prague.  Back home, putting a façade, she lies to her friends about her “wonderful” trip before resuming mundane work in the provincial factory.

Loves of a Blonde serves as a sampler of what is known as the Czech New Wave, a movement that took advantage of a temporary political relaxation, allowing artists to use cinema as a means to explore new narratives while at the same time critiquing the socio-political conditions.

The film put Forman on the map and received Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film, but the winner was the stylish French romance, “Ä Man and A Woman.”

In 1968, when the Soviet Union invaded the country to end the Prague Spring, he was in Paris negotiating for the production of his first American film. The Czech studio for which he had worked fired him, claiming that he was out of the country illegally, forcing Forman to move to the U.S.

 

Forman’s Oscar Nominations and Awards

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

In 1975, Milos Forman won the Directing Oscar for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in a race that included Robert Altman for “Nashville,” Federico Fellini for “Amarcord,” Stanley Kubrick for “Barry Lyndon,” and Sidney Lumet for “Dog Day Afternoon.”

Amadeus

In 1984, Forman won the Bets Director in a category that included Woody Allen for “Broadway Danny Rose,” Robert Benton for “Places in the Heart,” Roland Jaffe for “The Killing Fields,” and David Lean for “A Passage to India.”

People Vs. Larry Flynt

In 1996, Milos Forman competed for the Best Director Oscar with Anthony Minghella who won for “The English Patient,” Joel Coen for “Fargo,”
Mike Leigh for “Secrets & Lies,” and Scott Hicks for “Shine.”

Filmography

1963 Audition
1964 Black Peter
1965 Loves of a Blonde
1967 The Firemen’s Ball
1971 Taking Off
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
1979 Hair
1981 Ragtime
1984 Amadeus
1989 Valmont
1996 The People vs. Larry Flynt
1999 Man on the Moon
2006 Goya’s Ghosts

 

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