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Born: Prague, Czechoslovakia, 2 July 1936.

Jan NÍmec (JPG, 13 KB)

Jan NÍmec graduated from FAMU [Prague Film School] in 1960, after studying direction under VŠclav Krska, a leading director of the 1940s and 1950s and advocate of the director's personal style. From the first, NÍmec was committed to a non-realist approach and his first feature, Dťmanty noci / Diamonds of the Night (1964), adapted from a novel by Arnost Lustig, concerned the mental life of two young Jewish boys on the run from a Nazi death train. With Mucedníci lŠsky / Martyrs of Love (1966) and O slavnosti a hostech / The Party and the Guests (1966), both co-scripted by Esther KrumbachovŠ, he produced, respectively, a romantic fantasy influenced by the traditions of Czech Poeticism, and an absurdist political parable about a group of "guests" and their adjustment to a system of absolute power. The latter was banned, reinstated, banned again, and banned "for ever" in 1973. After filming the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia (Oratorium pro Prahu / Oratorio for Prague, 1968, banned), he emigrated in 1975 but was unable to sustain his career on a regular basis. He finally made a long-planned feature, V zŠru krŠlovskť lŠsky / In the Heat of the King's Love / The Flames of Royal Love, based on Ladislav Klíma's "grotesque" novel The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch, in Prague in 1989, but it lacked the spontaneity of his earlier work.

ó Peter Hames, Encylopedia of European Cinema

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