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KARLOVY VARY 2009 Czech Republic

Forman comes home for A Walk Worthwhile


Karlovy Vary audiences are renown for their warmth toward the festival's filmmakers, but few guests could expect a more enthusiastic welcome than that given to Czech-born director Milos Forman, at the festival to present the world premiere of A Walk Worthwhile.

The film is Forman's first shot in his home country since Amadeus, a quarter-century ago, and his first Czech-language film since The Firemen's Ball in 1967.

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Forman directed a stage production of the jazz opera A Walk Worthwhile at Prague's National Theatre in 2007. The director filmed a performance for a DVD but “[DoP] Jan Malir thought we could turn the project into a theatrical release,” Forman said.

The stage performance was performed live, without playback, and includes the occasional hiccup. “If you feel that people are really singing and performing, it's much more rewarding for the audience. That was our intention,” the director said.

The story is a moral fairy tale about a young woman's comic attempts to find a man to give her a child so she can inherit £1m. Forman said the play, written by Jiri Slitr and Jiri Suchy for Prague's Semafor Theater, was not an attempt at political subterfuge. “A Walk Worthwhile, as written in the 1960s, has a social meaning today: money ruins people. But back then, no one had money, so today it has new relevance,” Forman said.

Forman said he was impressed by the professionalism of his crew on the production and reassured to see that Czech film traditions had survived decades of totalitarianism.

The director also mentioned that several projects he had hoped to make in recent years had collapsed in the development stage. It is understood that The Ghost of Munich, a collaboration with Vaclav Havel, is one of these.

Falcon will release A Walk Worthwhile to Czech theaters this month.

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