Jan Němec, a prominent Czech film director recognised as co-founder of the Czech New Wave, has died aged 79.
Němec, who died on 18 March after an illness, is perhaps best known for his 1964 debut feature film Diamonds of the Night, which centres on the true-life story of two boys who escape from a Nazi train taking them to a concentration camp. His second feature, A Report on the Party and the Guests (1966), was banned by the Communist authorities. The graduate of Prague’s prestigious FAMU film school was prohibited from making films in Czechoslovakia following his 1968 documentary Oratorio For Prague, which depicted the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.
After travelling in Europe and spending 12 years in the USA, Němec returned to Czechoslovakia following the 1989 Velvet Revolution and made several films, including Code Name Ruby (1997) and Late Night Talks with Mother (2000), the latter of which won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno film festival. Filming for Němec’s final film, The Wolf of Royal Vineyard Street, a biographical Czech-Slovak-French comedy, began in October 2015. The film is due to be released in 2017.