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Film Community Pays Tribute to Director Milos Forman

The death of Milos Forman has triggered tributes to the iconic two-time Oscar-winning director from the film community in many parts of the world.

Homages to the Czech-born filmmaker, who won Academy Awards for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1975 and “Amadeus” in 1984, began springing up on social media soon after Forman’s death was revealed by his wife, Martina, on Friday.

Natalie Portman, who starred in Forman’s 2006 drama “Goya’s Ghosts” — his final directorial feature — described her work with the helmer as “one of the most meaningful filmmaking experiences of my life.”

“I loved working with Milos and am so sad to hear of his passing,” Portman said in a statement. “I am grateful to have gotten to experience the way he made the film, set an absurdist adventure, his irreverent humor, his love of food, wine and family, and his phenomenal direction. He made me laugh and he made me think, and I will remember our time in Madrid always as one of the most meaningful filmmaking experiences of my life. I send my deepest condolences to his wife and children.”

Former Cannes president Gilles Jacob described Forman as the “only director who went from the Czech New Wave (‘Black Peter’) to big American films which won flurries of Oscars (‘Amadeus’). Immense body of work. He loved beer, tennis, Cannes, he spoke the truth, that’s all. Milos will remain dear in my heart,” Jacob tweeted in French.

Actor Antonio Banderas also paid tribute to Forman. “Milos Forman has left us. Genius of cinematography and master in the portrayal of the human condition,” wrote Banderas.

British director-writer Edgar Wright (“Baby Driver”) said Forman had left “a tremendous filmography that documented the rebel heart and human spirit.”

American writer-producer Larry Karaszewski, who made two films (including “Larry Flynt”) with Forman, said the filmmaker was “our friend and our teacher. He was a master filmmaker – no one better at capturing small unrepeatable moments of human behavior. We made two movies together and every day spent with him was a unique adventure. Milos loved life. I will miss his laughter.”

Courtney Love was cast by Forman in “The People vs. Larry Flynt.”

Milos, you were my first role model for what a real man was. Against all odds, and a horrified studio, you plucked me from an audition and used your own money to get me bonded and insured, based on my word that I would not do drugs (I did not) Doing a good film is fun but Milos made it a joy. I was so free, so blessed, and so supported. I discovered what being treated like a princess was for the first time. He was always gentle and always brought out my best. I was surrounded by love on both of my films with him, and other than Kurt and Frances, they remain the highest points in my life. Playing for 100k people is awesome but it's nothing compared to being directed by this tender man, who had also seen such hardship growing up – his mother died in Auschwitz and his father rumored to have been killed by the KGB. He was once jailed for going to an Ella Fitzgerald concert along with his best friend, the young playwright (and future Czech President) Václav Havel. He was a genuine auteur and not a baby when it came to casting – zero compromise. I recall on the set of Man on the Moon I was sent into his trailer as he dined over his steak (medium rare), his wine (always Pétrus), and cigar (illegal Cuban) to argue casting Chicago. He wanted me and Bebe Neuwirth and he wasn't budging. I was fighting for a huge popstar and he looked at me with his twinkling, crinkling, tender eyes with a flash of irony – and maybe pissiness – and said, “You tell ME about CASTING, Miss Courtney Love?” I shut my trap then and there. Milos accepted me and my demons. He introduced me to my extended family – Edward, Woody, Danny and the wonderful Jim Carrey. We have lost a cinema giant, my heart goes out to his beautiful and loving wife Martina, their children Jim and Andy, and the rest of his family. To all of us who he put on the map and to all of us who watch Amadeus or Cuckoo’s Nest over and over and over – the joy that man gave was unparalleled only by the joyous way he chose to the joyous way he chose to live his life. Milos, I've told you a million times, but I've never loved a human being the way love and admire you. Purely, joyously and devastated, Your Courtney

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Director Greg Mottola referenced his teaching career at Columbia.

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