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The Firemen's Ball

Miloš Forman
Hoří, má panenko!
Czech Republic, Italy 1967 / 70’
Cristian Mungiu's choice

This, Miloš Forman's last Czechoslovak film, nearly led to a national disaster; after watching The Firemen's Ball, outraged firefighters reportedly threatened to stop putting out fires. What caused the uproar? Forman's film is an account of the annual Firemen's Ball held in what was at the time a Czechoslovak village. The ball quickly spins out of control: lottery prizes go missing, and the only candidate for the title of Miss Fire Department turns out to be a rather stout matron. The tension becomes unbearable in a a caustically funny film which contains far less warmth and understanding than most New Wave comedies. Forman's film has been widely seen as a sarcastic indictment of the communist system and its disastrous impact on the mentality of citizens. Czechoslovak officials understood this only too well and did their best to interfere with the film's promotion. Fortunately, French director François Truffaut loved the film and did his best to make sure it received adequate publicity. As a result, Forman earned his second career Oscar nomination.

Piotr Czerkawski

Miloš Forman

Miloš Forman was born in 1932 and graduated from the Prague Academy of Performing Arts. He is one of the icons of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Two of his films, The Loves of a Blonde and The Firemen's Ball, were nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar. He has been living in exile in the United States since 1968, where he is considered a penetrating, ironic commentator on American society and has produced a number of well-known films, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which won five Oscars, as well as Hair and Amadeus.

Selected filmography

1963 Czarny Piotruś / Černý Petr / Black Peter

1965 Miłość blondynki / Lásky jedné plavovlásky / Loves of a Blonde

1967 Pali się, moja panno / Hoří, má panenko! / The Firemen's Ball

1975 Lot nad kukułczym gniazdem / One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

1984 Amadeusz / Amadeus

Cast & Crew

director Miloš Forman
screenplay Miloš Forman
cinematography Miloš Forman, Jaroslav Papoušek, Ivan Passer, Václav Šašek
editing Miroslav Ondříček
music Karel Mareš
cast Jan Vostrčil, Jarmila Kuchařová, František Paska, Alena Květová
producer Rudolf Hájek
production Filmové studio Barrandov, Carlo Ponti Cinematografica
sales Czeskie Centrum
language Czech
colouration colour