Jiří Menzel

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Jiří Menzel
A close-up of Menzel's face
Jiří Menzel in 2016
Born(1938-02-23)23 February 1938
Died5 September 2020(2020-09-05) (aged 82)
OccupationFilm director
SpouseOlga Menzelová

Jiří Menzel (Czech: [ˈjɪr̝iː ˈmɛntsl̩] ) (23 February 1938 – 5 September 2020)[1] was a Czech film director, theatre director, actor, and screenwriter. His films often combine a humanistic view of the world with sarcasm and provocative cinematography.[2] Some of these films are adapted from works by Czech writers such as Bohumil Hrabal and Vladislav Vančura.[3][4]

Early life


Menzel was born in Prague in 1938 to Josef Menzel and Božena Jindřichová.[5] His father Josef was a journalist, translator and children's book writer.[6] Menzel studied directing at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) in Prague. His teachers at the academy included Czech Director Otakar Vávra.[7]



Menzel was a member of the Czech New Wave cinema in the 1960s. His first feature film, Closely Watched Trains, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1967.[8][2] The film was a World War II drama based on a book by Bohumil Hrabal.[4] His film Larks on a String was filmed in 1969, but was banned by the government censors. It was finally released in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime. The film won the Golden Bear at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival in 1990.[9] The film was also based on a book by Bohumil Hrabal, and spoke about life in a re-education camp in Czechoslovakia under the communist rule in the 1950s.[4][10]

Menzel was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film again in 1986 with his dark comedy My Sweet Little Village.[11] In 1987, he was a member of the jury at the 37th Berlin International Film Festival.[12] In 1989 he was a member of the jury at the 16th Moscow International Film Festival.[13] In 1995 he was a member of the jury at the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.[14] He was awarded an IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award in November 2013.[15] He was also awarded the French title of Knight of Arts and Letters and the Czech Lion for lifetime artistic contribution.[4][10]

In the 1980s he was offered by a West German television studio to make a television series version of The Good Soldier Švejk with Rudolf Hrušínský. He didn't get the permission from the Czechoslovak government however.[16]

His last appearance in a feature film was in the 2018 Slovak film, The Interpreter, which was based on the story of a man's interactions with an SS soldier who had executed his parents. The film was Slovakia's official entry to the Oscars.[10][17]



Menzel died on 5 September 2020, aged 82, after battling a prolonged illness.[18] He had undergone a brain surgery earlier in 2017.[10] He is survived by his wife Olga Menzelová, and daughters, Anna Karolina and Eva Maria.[4][18] Menzel's wife confirmed on 9 November 2020 that Menzel died as a result of COVID-19 pneumonia.[19][20]




As a director

Year English title Original title Notes
1960 Prefabricated Houses[24] Domy z panelů School film
1963 Our Mr. Foerster Died[25] Umřel nám pan Foerster School film
1963 Something Different[25] O něčem jiném assistant director
1965 Concert '65[25] Koncert 65 Short documentary
1965 Crime at the Girls School Zločin v dívčí škole Segment "Crime at the Girls School", also screenwriter
1966 Pearls of the Deep Perličky na dně Segment "Smrt pana Baltazara" (The Death of Mr. Balthazar), also screenwriter
1966 Closely Watched Trains Ostře sledované vlaky also screenwriter, Academy Award winner
1968 Crime in a Music Hall[25] Zločin v šantánu also screenwriter
1968 Capricious Summer Rozmarné léto also screenwriter
1969 Larks on a String Skřivánci na niti also screenwriter, banned and not released until 1990
1974 Altered Landscapes Proměny krajiny Short documentary
1974 Who Looks for Gold? Kdo hledá zlaté dno also screenwriter
1976 Seclusion Near a Forest Na samotě u lesa
1978 Those Wonderful Movie Cranks Báječní muži s klikou also screenwriter
1980 Cutting It Short Postřižiny also screenwriter
1981 Tři v tom[26] TV theatre
1982 Krasosmutnění[27] TV film
Dr. Johann Faust, Praha II., Karlovo nám. 40[28] TV theatre
1983 Best Wishes From Planet Earth Srdečný pozdrav ze zeměkoule
1984 The Snowdrop Festival Slavnosti sněženek also screenwriter
1985 My Sweet Little Village Vesničko má středisková Nominated for Academy Award
1986 Chocolate Cop Die Schokoladenschnüffler
1989 The End of Old Times Konec starých časů also screenwriter
1991 Audience[25] TV film
1991 Beggar's Opera Žebrácká opera also screenwriter
1993 Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin Život a neobyčejná dobrodružství vojáka Ivana Čonkina Nominated for 8 Czech Lion Awards[29]
1998 Jacobowski a plukovník[30] TV theatre
2002 Ten Minutes Older Segment "One Moment"
2006 I Served the King of England Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále also screenwriter, nominated for 11 Czech Lion Awards,[31] won 5[32]
2013 The Don Juans Donšajni[33] also screenwriter

As an actor


See also



  1. ^ "V osmdesáti dvou letech zemřel režisér Jiří Menzel". 6 September 2020. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  2. ^ a b "Menzel receives lifetime achievement award". Radio Prague International. 2016-12-11. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  3. ^ "CILECT". www.cilect.org. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Jiri Menzel, Oscar-winning Czech film director, dies at 82". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 2020-09-07. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  5. ^ Publications, Europa; 63Rd, Ed (1999). The International Who's who 2000. Europa Publications Limited. ISBN 9781857430509.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Josef Menzel". aleph.nkp.cz. Czech National Library. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  7. ^ "Vávra mě naučil vše, co má filmař umět, vzpomíná Menzel - Novinky.cz". www.novinky.cz. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  8. ^ "The 40th Academy Awards (1968) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  9. ^ "Berlinale: 1990 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  10. ^ a b c d "Jiri Menzel: Oscar winning Czech director dies at 82". BBC News. 2020-09-07. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  11. ^ "The 59th Academy Awards (1987) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Berlinale: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  13. ^ "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  14. ^ "19th Moscow International Film Festival (1995)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  15. ^ "IFFI 2013 to open with Malayalam Film Kanyaka Talkies". Biharprabha News. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Rudolf Hrušínský".
  17. ^ TZ (7 August 2018). "Film Tlmocnik to Compete in 2019 Oscars Race | NEWS NOW". Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  18. ^ a b Ramos, Dino-Ray (2020-09-06). "Jiri Menzel Dies: Oscar-Winning Czech Director Of 'Closely Watched Trains' Was 82". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  19. ^ "Jiří se před smrtí nakazil covidem-19, prozradila vdova Olga Menzelová". iDNES.cz. 9 November 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  20. ^ "Oscar-winning Czech filmmaker Jiří Menzel died with COVID-19, reveals widow". The Prague Reporter. 9 November 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  21. ^ "Reni Santoni". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  22. ^ "Jirí Menzel". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  23. ^ "Jiri Menzel List of Movies and TV Shows". TV Guide. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  24. ^ Prefabricated Houses, retrieved 2020-09-08
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by "Jiří Menzel". Filmový přehled (in Czech). Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  26. ^ "Tři v tom". www.csfd.cz. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  27. ^ Krasosmutnění (TV film) (1982) (in Czech), retrieved 2020-09-09
  28. ^ "Dr. Johann Faust, Praha II., Karlovo nám. 40". www.csfd.cz. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  29. ^ "Český lev / 1994 / Nominace". www.filmovaakademie.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  30. ^ Jacobowski a plukovník (divadelní záznam) (1998) (in Czech), retrieved 2020-09-09
  31. ^ "Český lev / 2006 / Nominace". www.filmovaakademie.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  32. ^ "Český lev / 2006 / Držitelé ceny 14. Český lev". www.filmovaakademie.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  33. ^ "Česko-Slovenská filmová databáze: Donšajni". csfd.cz. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  34. ^ "Sedm křížků (TV film)". www.csfd.cz. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  35. ^ "Truck Stop". www.csfd.cz. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  36. ^ Világszám! (2004) | Galerie (in Czech), retrieved 2020-09-09
  37. ^ "Vyprávěj (TV seriál)". www.csfd.cz. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  38. ^ "Až po uši (TV seriál)". www.csfd.cz. Retrieved 2020-09-09.

Jiří Menzel at IMDb