This is very hard to write. I liked him. Not so much as a director, because I never really liked Czech films very much, you could say that I am this cultural barbarian when it comes to Czech film, although I admit that some of them are quite cool. But I loved Jiří Menzel as a person. And the fact that he won't have a funeral touches me deeply ...
Sure, we weren't friends, we didn't call or visit each other regularly. We simply knew each other as a journalist and a celebrity. Jirka had this relationship with many people. And I guarantee you, all these people are sad that they won't be able to officially say goodbye to the legendary man.
Why? He was just great. He seldom refused to be interviewed, he was always funny and sincere, he was not ashamed of himself, of his words, of his actions. When he liked a woman, and that he liked beautiful women, he always made it clear in his nonchalant way that made even Olga would dismiss it.
I wish Olga has also dismissed his wish not to have a funeral. She could have pulled an Iva Janžurová in the film Theory of the Tiger, where she buried her husband in a cemetery where he didn't want to be buried, but she ignored it with the words: I know what's best for him.
But Olga is a character. She would never disappoint Jirka. There will be no public funeral. I talked to her. She's strong, though she doesn't have to be, everyone would understand. But she spoke into the phone in her significant, strong voice. She told me that her husband just didn't want it and she would honor his words. He wanted a celebration of life. Because he loved life, he never wanted to bother anyone. His mind was clear on death, he was not afraid of it, he'd lived a perfect life and left something behind. His children can be proud of him.
The Oscar-winning director also wanted his wife to take his ashes to Spain, where he loves it and where he regularly traveled with his family. I really like that, I too want to find rest in the sea in the end. It's so peaceful...
People who liked the director will have to say goodbye to him in their minds or at his tombstone, which will most likely be at Vyšehrad.
When I read on Olga's Facebook that Jiří had died, I had chills. I was just cold, even though it was warm outside. Even though it had to come, it doesn't spare anyone, and we all know he hasn't been okay for the last few years, it came as a shock. That's why I bow to her, as to any woman who marries an older man. Even if you think you are ready for anything, you are not. No one can imagine having their loved one die in their arms. Olga, or Ivana Gottová recently, experienced it. I don't want to experience it.
In relation to this death, I realized again how these skilled bards are slowly leaving us. So who will make the great movies, who will host the New Year's Eve shows? Of the younger artists, there are really very few who could compare to Menzel or Menšík with their talent. I am afraid that Czech culture is slowly but surely going to hell...
But that is going further in the discussion than I wanted. I would like to hope that Jirka gets to shoot a lot of more films up there and may Olinka be in good health and have good resolve.