Jiří Menzel (23 February 1938 – 5 September 2020) 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. Some of these films are adapted from works by Czech writers such as Bohumil Hrabal and Vladislav Vančura.
Menzel was born in Prague, the son of Josef Menzel and Božena Jindřichová. His father Josef was a journalist, translator and children's book writer. Menzel studied directing at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU), his teacher was Otakar Vávra.
Menzel, a member of the Czech New Wave, became internationally famous in 1967, when his first feature film, Closely Watched Trains, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. His film Larks on a String was filmed in 1969, but was banned by the Czechoslovakian government. 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.
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