Czech director Frantisek Vlacil was best known for his 1965 feature Marketa Lazarova, which in 1998 was named the greatest Czech film of all time in a poll of critics and filmmakers. B...展开orn in 1924, Vlacil began his career in puppet animation, and made a number of educational and training films before directing his first feature in 1960, Holubice (The White Dove). Despite the wide acclaim of Marketa Lazarova, Vlacil was banned from making feature films through much of the 1970s; he instead focused on making short subjects for children. In 1979, he was permitted to return to feature filmmaking, and released his final film, Mag (The Magician), in 1988. Vlacil died in Prague in 1999.
Vlacil's films were praised for a style that wove metaphor and poetic symbolism with historical stories. His 1965 masterpiece, the medieval drama "Marketa Lazarova," was the near-unanimous choice for best film in all of Czech cinematic history by a group of 100 Czech critics and film industry leaders in a poll taken last year. Last summer, Vlacil was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
Born in 1924, Vlacil began his career in the Moravian capital of Brno in puppet animation; he moved on to educational, army and documentary films before making his first feature film "Holubice" (The White Dove) in 1960, which was honored at several major festivals after its release in 1960.
He spent five years on "Marketa Lazarova," then followed with "The Valley of the Bees" and "Adelheid". A member of the first generation of the Prague Spring political movement, Vlacil was making his films at that same time as the better-known second generation, which included Milos Forman. Banned by the government from making features in the 1970s, Vlacil instead directed children's films. He returned to features in 1979, completing his last film, "Mag" (The Magician) in 1988.
Although highly regarded at home, Vlacil never achieved the international attention of other top Czech directors. Critic Pavel Melounek explained the discrepancy, telling Daily Variety: "His character was as delicate as the poetry of his films. He hated going to festivals and promoting his films, preferring quiet and solitude."