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Vera Chytilovß

Vera Chytilovß

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 2, 1929 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession: director, screenwriter, continuity supervisor, assistant director, model, draftsperson

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Vera Chytilova grew up amid the feverish experimentalism of the Prague arts world of the 1930s, and had survived both the war and Stalinism by the time she joined the avant-garde of feminist directors in the 1960s. At Charles University she studied philosophy and architecture, but her beauty opened up another career as a model, which in turn led to contact with the cinema world and enrollment in the Czech Film Academy (FAMU). Her graduation film from FAMU, "Ceiling" (1962), was a witheringly funny look at men's exploitation of women as models. The film's disgust with consumerism and fantastical imagery foreshadowed her future work, which continued exploring similar themes for more than four decades. "Something Different" (1963), Chytilova's first feature, used parallel narratives and a "cinema verite" style to contrast the lives of a gymnast and a housewife. Though unconventional, it only hinted at the kinds of experimentation that would make her next film, "Daisies" (1966), a triumph of anarchy. The two heroines of "Daisies," Marie I and Marie II, entertain themselves and us with a series of irresponsibile pranks that culminate in their wantonly trashing a table of food and swinging from a...

Vera Chytilova grew up amid the feverish experimentalism of the Prague arts world of the 1930s, and had survived both the war and Stalinism by the time she joined the avant-garde of feminist directors in the 1960s. At Charles University she studied philosophy and architecture, but her beauty opened up another career as a model, which in turn led to contact with the cinema world and enrollment in the Czech Film Academy (FAMU). Her graduation film from FAMU, "Ceiling" (1962), was a witheringly funny look at men's exploitation of women as models. The film's disgust with consumerism and fantastical imagery foreshadowed her future work, which continued exploring similar themes for more than four decades.

"Something Different" (1963), Chytilova's first feature, used parallel narratives and a "cinema verite" style to contrast the lives of a gymnast and a housewife. Though unconventional, it only hinted at the kinds of experimentation that would make her next film, "Daisies" (1966), a triumph of anarchy. The two heroines of "Daisies," Marie I and Marie II, entertain themselves and us with a series of irresponsibile pranks that culminate in their wantonly trashing a table of food and swinging from a chandelier. The only guideline to their outrageous behavior is their exchange, prior to each episode: "It matters?" "It doesn't matter." Too funny to be nihilistic, "Daisies" remains Chytilova's best loved work.

"Fruit of Paradise" (1970) carried Chytilova's attack on the male establishment farther, with its elegant dissection of a triangular relationship between a couple and a serpentine man. After the Soviet invasion of 1968, Chytilova was idle until 1976, when "The Apple Game" marked a turn toward a more conventional storyline and character development. This trend was continued in "Story from a Housing Estate" (1979) and "Calamity" (1982), both of which reflect the norms of anti-bureaucratic thinking. However, with "The Very Late Afternoon of a Fawn" (1984), "Wolf's Lair" (1986) and "The Jester and the Queen" (1988), Chytilova reclaimed her position as the most stylish and provocative director in Czechoslavakia. "Tainted Horseplay" (1989) flaunted Western sympathies in a tragicomedy about AIDS.

Fellow Czech surrealist Juraj Jakubisko, who worked with Chytilova, once described her approach to filmmaking: "She makes a film as if she were buying a hat: a magnificent ceremony, full of elegance and feminine cleverness. And all the while she is suffering. In a little while, the hat she bought doesn't appeal to her anymore, and right there a style of storytelling emerges." Throughout her career, Chytilova's signature remained a vertiginous camera technique and disjunctive editing style that keeps the viewer constantly aware of the director's wry stance toward her subjects. She worked steadily into the 21st century before retiring for health reasons following her 17th feature film, "Pleasant Moments" (2006). Vera Chytilova died March 12, 2014 in Prague at the age of 85.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Vyhnani z Raje (2001) Director
3.
  Traps (1998) Director
4.
  Inheritance, The (1993) Director
5.
6.
  Sasek a Kralovna (1988) Director
7.
  Prefab Story (1987) Director
8.
  Vlci Bouda (1986) Director
9.
  Prague (1985) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Sametova Kocovina (2001) Herself
2.
 Chytilova vs. Forman (1983) Herself
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Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as clapper girl and then assistant director at Barrandov Studios before entering FAMU in 1957
1959:
Made four short films while at film school
1962:
Directed medium-length graduation piece, "The Ceiling"
1963:
Feature film directing and writing debut (also voice), "O necem jinem/Something Different"
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Education

FAMU: - 1957 - 1962

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husband:
Jaroslav Kucera. Director of photography.

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