Milos Forman Beyond the ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’: His Early Czechoslovak Films Reveal a Master of Black Comedy

Milos Forman only made eight English-language features in five decades, but many of his contributions became synonymous with the legacy of American movies.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus” have a powerful resonance in popular culture, while later efforts “The People vs.

Larry Flynt” and “Man on the Moon” showed a resilient filmmaker keen on exploring iconoclastic figures by pushing the boundaries of commercial cinema.

However, in the wake of his death, no appreciation of Forman’s talent is complete without an acknowledgement of the masterful black comedies he made in the first stage of his career.Less prophet of doom than a chronicler of contemporary despair, Forman meshed satire with realism and wielded irony as a cultural weapon.

In the early ‘60s, Forman was a leading figure of the Czechoslovak New Wave by transforming the pratfalls of disaffected youth into punchlines.

The humor emerged as a

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