KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic — Milos Forman proved once more he knows how to push the politically incorrect button in his native land. It’s been 30-something years since he ran afoul of Brezhnev-era authorities and left Czechoslovakia. Coming home to collect the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Karlovy Vary fest (July 4-13), Forman unfortunately collected bomb threats as well.
A half-hour before the midnight screening Wednesday of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Karlovy Vary police received an anonymous call and rushed to fest headquarters at the Thermal Hotel to clear the building. The caller — identified by police as a non-Czech female — apparently lacked inside contacts; Forman had other commitments and did not attend the screening.
Fest organizers beefed up security for the closing-night screening of “Amadeus,” calling in 50 police officers to monitor the expected crowds. Ivan Filus, head of production for the fest admitted, “We’re afraid about the closing, since President (Vaclav) Havel will be here.”
The fracas in his homeland wasn’t Forman’s only brush with controversy since he got in with “Flynt.” Feminist guru Gloria Steinem led a much-publicized crusade against the porn king biopic, and the film’s French poster, showing star Woody Harrelson crucified, wearing an American flag diaper and positioned between a pair of feminine thighs, drew the ire of church and moral high-grounders in France.
And it’s not the first time he’s been the target of a bomb threat here. Thirty minutes before the opening of “The People vs. Larry Flynt” in Prague earlier this year, a similar call delayed the screening. Reached by Daily Variety for comment, Forman said, “Well, I know it’s not Jerry Falwell. He’s too smart for that.”