In tribute to Oscar-winning director Miloš Forman’s 85th birthday, the Embassy of the Czech Republic will screen "The Firemen’s Ball" (Hoří, má panenko), on February 16, at 6 pm.
In the film, firemen invite the whole town to a party for their retired chief, including a raffle and a beauty contest. When prizes start to go missing, the search for the thief brings a slew of comical situations. The film was banned after its release for its “criticism” of the communist system after the Soviet invasion of 1968. (1967, Czech with English subtitles, 71 min.)
Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008
RSVP by February 14 to https://firemensball.eventbrite.com
Embassy policy: No bags or suitcases allowed. Only small purses permitted but will be checked at the door. No coat check available. You must pass through security for entrance. RSVP confirmation and photo ID required. Doors close at 6:15 pm.
INSIDE THE MAKING OF THE FIREMEN’S BALL
Forman explained that the Firemen’s Ball actually sprang from an actual experience of his when Forman together with co-writers Ivan Passer and Jaroslav Papoušek had ventured to a small Bohemian town in order to write. There, they attended a firemen’s ball, which, in Forman’s own words, was “such a nightmare that we couldn’t stop talking about it.” Forman used actual firefighters from the small town where the film was filmed to portray the story. The film was co-financed by Italian producer Carlo Ponti who pulled out of the film after Czech authorities withdrew approval. French director Francois Truffaut helped save the film and distribute it internationally.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Miloš Forman, born Feb. 18, 1932 as Jan Tomáš Forman, developed a desire to be a director when he saw what directors would do with his scripts. His style was influenced by elements of cinéma vérité. His early films Black Peter (Černý Petr), Loves of a Blonde (Lásky jedné plavovlásky), and The Fireman’s Ball (Hoří, má panenko) made him a leader of the Czechoslovak New Wave, an artistic movement of the 1960s hailed as the “golden era” of Czechoslovakia’s cinematic history. His biggest successes in the United States include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which won five Oscars including best director, and Amadeus, which garnered eight Oscars. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, made on a $4.4 million budget, netted more than $320 million worldwide. Amadeus has been called the triumph of his career. He was nominated for 54 awards for the film, and won 41.