02-02-2016

Obituary: Director Ladislav Helge

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Ladislav Helge Ladislav Helge credit: www.ceskatelevize.cz

PRAGUE: Film director and screenwriter Ladislav Helge, one of the members of the Czech New wave, passed away at 88 on 31 January 2016.

Born in 1927, Ladislav Helge shot his first film, The School for Fathers, in 1957. Other significant films are Great Solitude (1959), Spring Breeze (1961), White Clouds (1962), Without a Halo (1963), Chance Meeting (1965) and Shame (1967), all produced at Filmove Studio Barrandov.

His promising career was interrupted by the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and his films were banned for their political subtext in the early 70s. From 1977 to 1992 he worked as scriptwriter and director in Laterna magika, the Prague theatre combining film and live performance.

In 1990 he was elected head of the restored Czech Film and Television Association (FITES), a position he held in 1969-1970. He was also elected head of the film direction department at FAMU, but did not return to filmmaking.

In 2009, Ladislav Helge received the prestigious Vladislav Vancura Prize from FITES for his lifelong artistic and moral contribution to Czech cinematography.