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Film director Jasný awarded by Academy of Performing Arts

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Prague, Nov 30 (CTK) – Czech script-writer and film director Vojtech Jasny, 90, on Monday received the Golden Medal of the Academy of Performing Arts (AMU) established 70 years ago.

Jasny was one of the first students of the film academy FAMU in the field of photography and film direction 70 years ago.

“Everything started at FAMU,” Jasny said.

At the end of the 1950s, Jasny started shooting lyrical feature films, such as The Desire (Touha, 1958) and The Cassandra Cat (Az prijde kocour, 1963).

In 1968 he shot his masterpiece, All My Good Countrymen (Vsichni dobri rodaci), a chronicle of the Czech post-war countryside that is very critical of the communist forced collectivisation of farmers. The film, which won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival for the best director in 1969, was later banned by the communist regime.

After the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, Jasny left for the West. In the 1970s, he mainly worked for the West German television. He also shot several full-length films, such as The Clown (Ansichten eines Clowns, 1976), based on a novel by Heinrich Boell.

After the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1989, he returned home where he shot a free sequel to All My Good Countrymen called Return to Paradise Lost (Navrat ztraceneho raje) in 1999, which, however, did not score the same success.

Jasny was lecturing at film schools in Munich, New York, Salzburg and Vienna. At the end of the 1990 he wrote his memoirs, including several film lessons, entitled Life and Film.

In 2007, he received the Czech Lion award for his outstanding artistic contribution to Czech cinematography.

In 2013, Jasny received a prize for contribution to Czech cinematography at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary.

The Golden Medal of AMU is the highest award the academy gives to outstanding Czech and foreign experts and artists who have taught at it.

“For me, All My Good Countrymen was a real earthquake,” AMU rector Jan Hancil told CTK on Monday.

“At the moment I saw it for the first time in 1989, I could see in a poetic hyperbole all the horrors of forced collectivisation that occurred at the Bohemian and Moravian countryside,” Hancil said.

“As a man who never lived in the 1950s, I realised what Stalinism meant,” he added.

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