Oscar-winning Czech director Jiri Menzel dies at age 82
His 1966 film 'Closely Watched Trains' won an Academy award.
Czech director Jiri Menzel, whose 1966 movie Closely Watched Trains won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film, has died at age 82, his wife, Olga, said on her Facebook page.
Menzel was part of the Czech New Wave of filmmakers of the 1960s that included One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus director Milos Forman and avant-garde director Vera Chytilova.
He struggled with serious health problems in recent years.
"Dearest Jirka, I thank you for each and single day I could spend with you. Each was extraordinary. I am also grateful to you for the last three years, as hard as they were," his wife wrote in her post.
Menzel gained fame for Closely Watched Trains, the coming-of-age story of a young train dispatcher in German-occupied Czechoslovakia during World War Two. It was based on a novel by Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, whose works were a source of other Menzel films, including I Served the King of England in 2006.
Like other directors of his generation, Menzel faced problems with Communist authorities. His 1969 film, Larks on a String, was not shown in his home country until 1990.
Menzel's 1985 film, My Sweet Little Village, was nominated for an Oscar and a number of his other movies have become classics for Czech film watchers and directors.
"I thank him for everything he did for us. Goodbye, sir!" film director Jan Hrebejk, who was nominated for an Oscar for his 2000 film, Divided We Fall, wrote on Twitter.