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Otakar Vávra obituary

Influential Czech film director with a talent for self-preservation

The Czech film director Otakar Vávra, who has died aged 100, was born in Bohemia when it was part of the Austro- Hungarian empire, and was seven years old when Czechoslovakia became an independent nation in 1918. He lived through the German occupation, communism and the Velvet Revolution, and saw his country become the Czech Republic in 1993, while never ceasing to make films. In each epoch, Vávra changed his skin in order to save it.

Among his lasting achievements was the film faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (Famu) in Prague, which he helped establish after the second world war and where he taught for five decades. Among his students were Vera Chytilová, Milos Forman, Ivan Passer and Jiri Menzel, all directors of the 60s Czech new wave, and more recently Emir Kusturica, all of whom had high praise for his teaching.

See full article on The Guardian - Film News