Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Avenue,
Santa Monica, CA 90403 Map
Sat, Jun 23, 2018 - Sun, Jul 1, 2018
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Milos Forman (1932-2018) was one of the few Eastern European directors to achieve great success in Hollywood. Born in the Central Bohemian region of Czechoslovakia, Forman lost his parents to World War II concentration camps, and he attended a school for war orphans where fellow students included future filmmaker Ivan Passer and future Czech president Vaclav Havel. He fell in love with the theater as a child but knew he didn’t want to act. “I had noticed that the male members of the ensemble were treated horribly backstage,” Forman recalled. “But then an aging man burst into the dressing room. His jacket was crumpled … and yet all the beautiful women couldn’t take their eyes off him. He was apparently slightly drunk but they were smiling at him and flirting. I would love this; that’s what I thought then. ‘Who is it?’ I asked my brother. ‘This one? He has directed it.’”

Though Forman didn’t make it into the theater division of Prague’s Academy of Arts, he was accepted into its film school. By the mid-1960s, he was an acclaimed director with two Oscar-nominated foreign-language films under his belt: LOVES OF A BLONDE and THE FIREMAN’S BALL. He soon was receiving requests from around the world, and in 1968 secured permission to travel to America to make a film. After finding New York too turbulent to concentrate on writing the screenplay, he moved to Paris - just as the student revolts were heating up. He considered a return to Prague but, when Soviet Bloc troops invaded Czechoslovakia, Forman decided to make a go of it in the West.

Forman’s first American film, 1971’s TAKING OFF, retained a strong Czech sensibility and was not a commercial success, so the next few years were lean ones, with some theater, documentary and commercial work to keep him busy. Then he got offered another narrative film - actor Michael Douglas and producer Saul Zaentz wanted him to direct ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (Kirk Douglas had made a similar offer years earlier that never reached the filmmaker; presumably it had been intercepted by state police). CUCKOO’S NEST was a hit and swept the top five Oscar categories. Forman was now on the A-list, and would pick up a second Best Director Academy Award for the 1984 Mozart drama AMADEUS.

In the 1990s, Forman took the biopic in unexpected new directions through a pair of collaborations with screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT drew protests for its focus on the titular pornographer (played by Woody Harrelson), but its conflict between free speech and censorship in America seems to grow more relevant with each passing year. Comedian Andy Kaufman is an equally unlikely film subject, yet in Forman and star Jim Carrey’s capable hands, MAN ON THE MOON is also both thought-provoking and entertaining.

A 50th anniversary screening of THE FIREMAN'S BALL will take place at the Laemmle Theatres on June 26.

Series compiled by Grant Moninger and Gwen Deglise. Program notes by John Hagelston.

Screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski appear in person with MAN ON THE MOON and THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT.
Aero TheatreSat, Jun 23, 2018 - Sun, Jul 1, 2018
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Films in this Series at the Aero

Sat, Jun 23, 2018 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski & Danny DeVito In Person!
Sun, Jun 24, 2018 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Thu, Jun 28, 2018 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Fri, Jun 29, 2018 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski & Courtney Love In Person!
Sat, Jun 30, 2018 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Sun, Jul 1, 2018 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre