TEHRAN.(Iranart) –Oscar-winning Czech director, Jiri Menzel, died after battling serious health issues, his wife said. He was 82.
Menzel won an Academy Award in 1968 for the best foreign-language film for the World War II drama, ‘Closely Watched Trains,’ BBC reported.
He was one of the leading figures in the Czech New Wave cinema during the 1960s, alongside ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ director Milos Forman.
Menzel was rarely seen in public after brain surgery in 2017. He died on Saturday, his wife Olga Menzelova said.
“Dearest Jirka, I thank you for each and single day I could spend with you. Each was extraordinary. I am also grateful to you for the last three years, as hard as they were,” she wrote on Facebook.
Menzel studied film production in Prague, graduating in 1962.
His first feature film, ‘Closely Watched Trains,’ was based on a novel by Bohumil Hrabal. Following the film’s Oscar win, Menzel collaborated with the novelist numerous times.
Reflecting on the Academy Award win, Menzel said in 2006 that he “had more luck than reason.”
“More than all the prizes and medals I received for this movie, I valued my lifelong friendship with Hrabal.”
In 1969, he fell afoul of the Communist government which banned his film ‘Larks on a String,’ another adaptation of a Hrabal novel. The film told the story of characters forced to work in a re-education camp.
It was eventually released in 1990 after the fall of the government and went on to win an award at the Berlin International Film Festival that year.
In 1987, Menzel received a second Oscar nomination for his film, ‘My Sweet Little Village.’
Aside from his directing work, Menzel also acted in 80 films and worked as a theater director.
His last film performance was in 2018’s ‘The Interpreter,’ which told the story of a man who seeks revenge on the soldier who killed his parents.
During his lifetime, Menzel won a number of international awards including the French Order of Arts and Literature and the Czech Lion for lifetime artistic contribution.
Source: Iran Daily