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.
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.
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