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Czech ‘New Wave’ cinema director Jiri Menzel dies aged 82

Czech film director Jiri Menzel, known as a leader of the experimental 1960s Czech and Slovak "New Wave," has died in Prague at the age of 82, the CTK news agency reported.

Prague, 7 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Czech film director Jiri Menzel, known as a leader of the experimental 1960s Czech and Slovak “New Wave,” has died in Prague at the age of 82, the CTK news agency reported.

Menzel died surrounded by his family on Saturday, his wife Olga said on Facebook Sunday.

He won an Oscar for best foreign language film for his 1967 comedy “Closely Watched Trains.”

Menzel co-wrote the screenplay with Czech author Bohumil Hrabal, a long-time collaborator on whose novel it is based.

Menzel was acclaimed for “bittersweet, philosophical comedies that owe much to the modern Czech literary tradition,” according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Born in Prague on February 23, 1938, Menzel was the son of a children’s book author. He learned his craft at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

Menzel was rarely seen in public following a serious illness in 2017. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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