Otakar Vávra
(Czech Republic)

Otakar Vávra (1911–2011), director and teacher, a legend of Czech film, whose extensive oeuvre spread across five decades. He made a major impact with two features from 1937 (History of Philosophy and Virginity). These works already showed the characteristic traits of what was to come – a preference for high-grade literary models, well-constructed screenplays, a perfectionist’s approach to directing, and collaboration with leading names, often stage actors. He was chiefly disposed towards realistic dramas treating psychological and historical themes, and his films often conveyed his socio-critical and political awareness (Presentiment, Golden Queen, his Hussite trilogy, Witches’ Hammer, The Liberation of Prague). Vávra played a major role in film education, establishing a new concept for FAMU, where he taught a number of principal figures of the New Wave.

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