Miloš Forman discusses One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Denis Tuohy from 1976, where the multi-award winning director explains his views on Politics, Art and Film-making.
Tuohy appears not to be aware that One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was based on the novel by Ken Kesey, instead, he digs for some personal, East-West political subtext that relates to Forman’s past life in Czechoslovakia. (Though it’s not mentioned here, Forman’s parents died in Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War—his mother in Auschwitz in 1943, his father in Buchenwald, 1944; while after the war, Forman lived under the country’s brutal Communist rule.)
Was the film a metaphor about society? asks Tuohy. To which Forman replies, it was more ‘a metaphor for any kind of modern society today,’ as it revealed ‘how far has the power the right to crush an individual who is questioning the rules.’
‘The power has Politics on its side. Let the Art be on the side of individual.
Forman, who had left Czechoslovakia in 1968 to make films in Hollywood, describes himself as ‘apolitical’ and believes there is a division between Art and Politics.
‘I like to tell the stories of the society I live in. I don’t have an ambition to give advice, of how the society will be transformed or changed—probably because I have seen so many disappointments.
‘I am apolitical person. For somebody that is trying to make so-called Art that is political—is crippling. Because Art is always, should be objective, should be trying the best of being objective. Once you adopt a political doctrine that, well, you can call Art, but it is propaganda type of Art.’
With thanks to NellyM