Eva Zaoralová: A Great Woman And A Friend Has Passed Away

    Eva Zaoralová Eva Zaoralová photo: KVIFF

    PRAGUE: Eva Zaoralová has passed away at the age of 89. She was one of the giants of European film as well as a personal friend, and many across the European film industry will be mourning this loss. She was frequently and deservedly honoured for her work as both a critic and as the artistic director of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, but most of all she was loved. She was also an honourary founding member of Film New Europe endorsing the project from the time of its start-up.

    While occupying a hugely important and prestigious place in both Czech and European film, she was always down to earth and ready to speak to and engage with everyone. Her warmth and openness was one of the main factors that gave the festival in the Czech spa town its welcoming and egalitarian atmosphere.

    At the same time her unerring taste in all that was best in film from around the world defined the KVIFF programme as one of the world’s most outstanding film showcases. The depth of her erudition and her knowledge of film was unparalleled.

    The French government awarded her the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) in 2002, and in 2012 she was raised to the rank of Officier. In 2010, the President of the Czech Republic awarded her the Medal of Merit in the field of culture.

    In 1994, Eva Zaoralová and Jiří Bartoška took over the management of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, building a modern and internationally respected event. After stepping down as artistic director in 2011 she continued as artistic advisor to the festival.

    On their website KVIFF paid tribute to Eva Zaoralová, writing “Some news we wish would never come. On Thursday 10 March, Eva Zaoralová left us forever.” “Everybody called her by her academic title (Dr) it was an expression of respect and admiration for her extraordinary knowledge, insight, and ability to capture precisely, in just a few sentences, what others would need stacks of papers to say. It was an expression of how joyful it was to be able to work with her and learn from her. She knew how to look at situations with a sense of humour and perspective, and it was a pleasure to witness the affectionate banter between her and Jiří Bartoška.

    “Eva and I always liked to joke that our relationship was a kind of permitted second marriage. It lasted nearly thirty years. When you spend that much time creating something with someone, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that the other person is no longer there, that the end is final,” Jiří Bartoška said on the website.