Film director Menzel to be decorated at Berlinale

Berlin, Feb 6 (CTK) – Czech film director and actor Jiri Menzel will be awarded at the prestigious film festival in Berlin with the prize Berlinale Kamera, designated for the personalities with a special relationship with the show, organisers told journalists on Tuesday.

The prize has been awarded to such film personalities as actor and director Clint Eastwood, director Sydney Pollack and actresses Jodie Foster and Isabella Rossellini.

Jiri Menzel is considered a champion of the comedy, who was shaping the Czech new wave in a decisive way, the organisers said.

The festival starts on February 15.

Menzel will obtain the prize eight days later, on his 80th birthday when the film Interpreter (Tlumocnik), in which he acts, will be premiered.

Menzel scored some successes at Berlinale in the past.

Menzel’s Larks on a String (Skrivanci na niti), a film adaptation of a book by Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal (1914-97) made in 1969, but banned under the Communist regime, won the Golden Bear in the main feature film competition in Berlin in 1990.

In 2006, another adaption of Hrabal’s work directed by Menzel, I Served the English King (Obsluhoval jsem anglickeho krale), won the FIPRESCI critics’ award at Berlinale.

Menzel, one of the leading representatives of the Czech New Film Wave of the 1960s, won Oscar for Closely Watched Trains (Ostre sledovane vlaky, 1966), also based on Hrabal’s book.

Menzel is still recovering from a complicated head surgery he underwent last November.

The Interpreter (Tlumocnik) is a Slovak-Czech-Austrian film directed by Martin Sulik. It is a road movie about two peculiar men who met by a coincidence to travel round Slovakia and learn the truth about their own past. Menzel will appear in the role of ascetic interpreter Ali, while Peter Simonischek plays an Austrian teacher and bon vivant who likes alcohol and women.