CHYTILOVÁ VERSUS FORMAN
Tuesday, September 20
CHYTILOVA VERSUS FORMAN
Directed by Věra Chytilová
Approx. 84 min. DCP courtesy of Belfilm.
The film’s subtitle – Consciousness of Continuity – comes right out of the wheelhouse of director Věra Chytilová who was asked to portray her Czechoslovak New Wave colleague and compatriot at a time when Forman was at the height of his Hollywood career while she just barely came out of the drought of seven years without directing a feature. Documenting Forman’s filmmaking method in New York on the set of RAGTIME, Chytilová skewers her subject, sometimes to the point of exasperation. But her method works, Forman opens up about his emotions upon arriving in the US while lying in the bed at the Chelsea Hotel where he once lived. They spar about what makes a good director and layout their differing views. Hearing that first-hand from the two giants of cinema is a pleasure to behold and extremely informative. We’re offered a window into the filmmakers’ artistic mind and there’s nothing better than that. The film was commissioned for the Belgian TV series VERSUS.
“Now he is a successful director. Chytilová, whose own career has been stalled by the Czech Slovak bureaucracy, quizzes him relentlessly, but he fends off her questions: "I am very afraid of making a great, solemn important statement. What if my film turns out to be shit?" They debate about the nature of film. He thinks it is a realistic medium, and so the audience should never be aware of the presence of the director. She disagrees, and no wonder; by the end of this documentary we are so aware of her off-camera presence that we almost wish she would answer some of her own questions herself.”
– Roger Ebert